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THE publishers take great pleasure in presenting this volume to the public. In addition 
to the general history, which is a model of its kind, our corps of writers have gone to 
the people, the men and women who have, b\' their enterprise and industry, brought 
this county to a rank second to none among those comprising this great and noble 
State, and from their lips have the story of their life struggles. No more interest- 
ing or instructive matter could be presented to an intelligent public. In this volume 
will be found a record of many whose lives are worthy the imitation of coming 
generations. It tells how some, commencing life in poverty, by industry and 
economy have accumulated wealth. It tells how others, with limited advantages for securing 
an education, have become learned men and women, with an influence extending throughout 
the length and breadth of the land. It tells of men who have risen from the lower walks of 
life to eminence as statesmen, and whose names have become famous. It tells of those in 
every walk in life who have striven to succeed, and records how success has usually 
crowned their efforts. It tells also of many, very many, who, not seeking the applause of the 
world, have pursued the "even tenor of their way," content to have it said of them, as Christ 
said of the woman performing a deed of mercy — "They have done what they could." It 
tells how many, in the pride and strength of young manhood, left the plow and the anvil, the 
lawyer's office and the counting-room, left every trade and profession, and at their country's 
call went forth valiantly "to do or die," and how through their efforts the Union was 
restored and peace once more reigned in the land. In the life of every man and of every 
woman is a lesson that should not be lost upon those who follow after. 

Coming generations will appreciate this volume and preserve it as a sacred treasure, from 
the fact that it contains so much that would never find its way into public records, and which 
would otherwise be inaccessible. Great care has been taken in the compilation of the work 
and every opportunity possible given to those represented to insure correctness in what has 
been written; and the publishers flatter themselves that they give to their readers a work with 
few errors of consequence. In addition to biographical sketches, portraits of a number of 
representative citizens are given. 

The faces of some, and biographical sketches of many, will be missed in this volume. 
For this the publishers are not to blame. Not having a proper conception of the work, some 
refused to give the information necessary to compile a sketch, while others were indifferent. 
Occasionally some member of the family would oppose the enterprise, and on account of such 
opposition the support of the interested one would be withheld. In a few instances men never 
could be found, though repeated calls were made at their residence or place of business. 

November, 1905. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 






The territory now comprised within the state 
of lUinois first nominally formed a part of Vir- 
ginia. The English crown, by virtue of dis- 
coveries made by the Cabots and the colonies 
planted by Sir Walter Raleigh, took formal pos- 
session of that portion of the new world later 
known as Virginia. The English colonists in 
Mrginia, however, did not penetrate far into the 
interior. Thus the royal claim to the "land 
throughout from sea to sea west and northwest" 
did not secure the title of the English crown to 
this vast domain. The French were the first 
actual settlers in the great Mississippi valley. 
During the latter part of the seventeenth century 
Father Marquette, Joliet, La Salle, Tonti and 
others had explored the shores of the Father of 
Waters and his tributaries. La Salle descended 
the ]\Iississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He 
named the country Louisiana, in honor of his 
king, Louis XIV. By virtue of these explorations 
France made formal claim to the territory lying 
on either side of the Mississippi. Thus, with 
English colonies on the coast, and French occu- 
pation in the valley of the Alississippi, it was only 
a question of time when there would come a final 
struggle for the possession of this vast territory. 

This crisis came with the French and Indian 
war, the issue of which committed the destiny of 
the west to the Anglo-Saxon civilization. By 
the treaty of Paris, in 1763, Great Britain ob- 
tained all the French territory east of the Mis- 
sissippi, with the exception of the island of New 

The special claim made by Virginia to the 
Illinois territory was based upon the bold con- 
quest of this region bv Colonel George Rogers 

In 1778 Colonel Clark conducted a series of 
brilliant campaigns against the military posts at 
Kaskaskia, Cahokia and X'incennes. The French 
villages, the only settlements in the region, were 
seats of British power. If these posts could be 
taken, and the capture of the British effected, the 
entire region would be won for the Old Do- 
minion. The scheme appealed to the bold spirit 
of Colonel Clark, and the outcome justified his 
most sanguine expectations. 

Virginia assured the title to this extensive ter- 
ritory, first by right of her charter, and sec- 
ondly by the conquest of her own arms. The 
territory was at once organized into a country 
called Illinois. By the treaty of Paris in 1783, 
which terminated the Revolutionary war, the 
Illinois territory passed forever from the control 
of Great Britain. In 1784 the delegates in con- 
gress from the commonwealth of Virginia pre- 
sented to the Laiited States a deed of cession of 
the territory northwest of the Ohio river. By 
the ordinance of 1787 congress provided that not 
less than three nor more than five states should 
be formed from this territory. 

By an act of congress in 1800 the Northwest 
Territory was divided into two parts, called the 
Ohio and the Indiana Territory respectively. The 
latter comprised the present states of Indiana, 
Illinois. Michigan and Wisconsin. In 1809 was 
organized the territory of Illinois, which also 
included Wisconsin and peninsular Michigan. 


The scat of frovcmmeiit was fixed at Kaskaskia. 
In 1812 Illinois was advanced to the second grade 
of territorial government; and in 1818 it was ad- 
mitted with its present boundaries into the l''nion 
as a state. 


Winnebago county does not figure prominently 
in Indian history. The Winnebagoes, from whom 
the county derives its name, occupied it as a por- 
tion of their reservation at one time. This tribe 
was first met by the Jesuit fathers at the head 
of Green bay. The Winnebagoes belonged to the 
Dacota or Sioux nation. They wandered to 
southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois and 
Iowa. r>y a treaty negotiated at Prairie du Chien, 
.\ugust I. 1829. the Winnebagoes ceded to the 
I'nited States certain lands in Illinois, of which 
W'iimebago county west of Rock river was a part. 
Article \' of the treaty granted sections of land 
to certain Indian descendants of mixed blood, 
who did not wish to migrate with their tribe. 
Tliirty-six of these descendants were given one 
section of land each, two received two sections, 
anil three two sections jointly. These grants 
were unlocated or "floating"' lands. From this 
fact came the word "float," by which these sec- 
tions were popularly known. These grantees 
were allowed to select a section, and their choice 
was to be ai)i)roved by the Indian commissioner, 
and by the (iresident of the United States. There 
were several of these "floats" in Rockford town- 
ship, .some of which now comprise the most popu- 
lous and wealthy portions of West Rockford. 

The r.lack Hawk war directed the attention 
of eastern .settlers to the Rock River valley. The 
Sacs and Foxes emigrated into Illinois from tlu' 
north. Neither tribe was snfticieiUly strong tc. 
successfully meet its enemies. Hence they be- 
came one nation. This allied tribe belonged to 
the .\lgon<|uin nation. RIack Hawk was born 
in the Sac village on the site of Rock Island in 

In 1804 a treaty was negotiated between Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, then governor of Indiana 
Territory, and the five chiefs of the Sac and Fox 
nations. P.y this treaty these allied tribes ceded 
their land on Rock river to the United States. 
It was provided, however, that the Indians should 
retain these lands until they were wanted for 
settlement. During the war of 1812 with Eng- 
lanrl, r.Iack Hawk led a faction in an alliance 
with the Hritish. .Amicable relations existed be- 
tween the Sac and Fox nations and the United 
States from the close of the war with England 
until i8,v>. In luly of that year Keokuk, another 
.'^ac chief, made a final cession to the United 
States of the lands heUl by his tribe east of the 
Missi.sssippi river. .According; to this treaty, his 

people were to remove from Illinois to the coun- 
try west of the Mississippi, and they (|uietly re- 
moved across the river. This treaty was ne- 
gotiated without the consent of Black Hawk, 
and he determined to resist the order of the gov- 
ernment for the removal of his tribe. This re- 
sistance brought affairs to a crisis. Black Hawk 
always asserted that his intentions in recrossing 
the river were not hostile. The authorities at 
Washington and at S])ringfield, however, con- 
strued his action as a violation of the treaty and 
a declaration of war. 

The cam])aign lasted only seventy-nine days. 
The most notable incident was the massacre at 
•Stillman's Run, in Ogle county, the site of which 
is now marked by a monument. Black Hawk, 
in his retreat, followed the general course of 
Rock river, passing through what is now East 
Rockford. The battle of the Bad .Vxe in Wis- 
consin practically ended the struggle. 

.■\fter the cessation of hostilities emigrants from 
New England and the middle states settled more 
rapidly in northern Illinois, which in a few years 
became the most i)rosperous portion of this great 

.sti:piii;.\ .m.m k. 


Stephen Mack was the first white man who 
made a permanent settlement in \\'innebago 
county. The exact time is unknown. It was 
])robably about i8ji). although earlier dales have 
lieen given. He was born in Poultnoy, \'crmont, 
and in early life his love of adventure drove him 
into the western wilderness. .About 1835 he 
l)latted a village at the mouth of Pecatonica river, 
near Rockton. which he calletl Macktown. Mack 
married Ho-no-ne-gah. a daughter of a Potta- 
watomie chief. She was the mother of eleven 
children, and died in 1847. 

Stejihen .Mack died in 1850, and was buried on 
his farm beside his Indian wife. Thirty vears 
later. May iq, 1880, their remains were removed 
and buried in the Phillips cemetery, near Har- 

In the summer of 1833 John Phelps, in com- 
])any with a Frenchman, came down Rock river, 
and made a brief sto|) at the mouth of the creek 
where Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Pdake lo- 
cated claims a year later. They continued their 
journey down the river, and selected a site now 
occupied by the town of Oregon, in Ogle countv. 

Jo.seph Kemp was in this section from 1830 to 
1840. and again from 1842 to 1844. In 1890 he 
was living at Michigan City. 


Germanicus Kent ancl Th.itcher Blake were the 
first permanent settlers in what is now the citv 


of Rockford. Mr. Kent was born in Suffield, 
Connecticut, in 1790. In early life he removed 
to Huntsville, Alabama, and from there he went 
to Galena, Illinois, where his brother. Rev. Aratus 
Kent, was stationed as a home missionary. 

Mr. Blake was born in Turner, Oxford county, 
Maine, March 16, iSoc). In 1834 he went to St. 
Louis, where he heard reports of the Rock river 
country from soldiers returning from the Black 
Hawk war. Mr. Blake visited Galena, and there 
made the acquaintance of Mr. Kent. 

In June. 1834, Mr. Kent and Mr. Blake started 
on a tour of exploration. They went north into 
Wisconsin territory to the Pecatonica river ; 
thence in a canoe along- that stream to its mouth 
and then down Rock river until they arrived at 
the mouth of a small tributary, to which the name 
of Kent's creek was subsequently given. They 
continued their journey down Rock river to 
Dixon's ferry, and from there returned overland 
to Galena. 

Soon after their arrival in Galena they pre- 
pared for a second journey. On the evening of 
August 24 these pioneers arrived at their destina- 
tion, and the founding of Rockford became an 
established fact. The party consisted of Ger- 
manicus Kent, Thatcher Blake, a Mr. Evans, and 
another man whose name is unknown. 

Kent and Blake located claims. Mr. Kent's 
claim comprised a tract of land which included 
the Tinker estate, the water-power and the estate 
now owned by the family of the late Judge 
Church. ^Ir. Blake's claim included parts of 
sections twenty and twenty-nine. Mr. Kent con- 
structed a dam and a sawmill on Kent's creek, and 
was active in other enterprises. He was not suc- 
cessful in business, however, and he could not 
weather the financial storm of 1837. 

Mr. Kent removed from Rockfor<l in 1844. 
His last years were spent in Blacksburg, \"ir- 
ginia, where he died RIarch i, 1862. Fortune 
was more kind to Mr. Blake. He died October 
8, 1880, and left a large estate. 


The first settler of what is now East Rock- 
ford, was Daniel Shaw Haight, who arrived 
April 9, 1835. He was a native of New York, 
and before coming to Rockford he had selected 
a claim near Geneva, in Kane countv. Mr. Haight 
subsequently came to Rockford, and selected a 
tract of land which comprised a considerable por- 
tion of what is now the business and most thickly 
settled residence district. Mr. Haight was a 
rugged, roistering pioneer, and a shrewd man of 
affairs. Mr. Haight's cabin, erected in the sum- 
mer of 1835, was the first structure on the East 
side. It was built near the northeast corner of 
State and Madison streets. 

The first public religious service in Rockford 

was held the second Sunday in June, 1835, at the 
home of Germanicus Kent, and was conducted 
by his brother, the Rev. Aratus Kent, of Galena. 
It has been said that on that day every soul in 
Rockford attended divine worship. 

PIONEERS OF 1835-37. 

Among other notable settlers of 1835 in the 
township may be mentioned James B. Martyn, 
James Boswell. James Wood, Eliphalet Gregory, 
Samuel Gregory, Ephraim Wyman, Richard 
Montague, William E. Dunbar. P. P. Churchill, 
Milton Kilburn, Israel Morrill, Ezra Barnum, 
Anson Barnum, and Dr. Levi Moulthrop, the first 
resident physician of Winnebago county, as now 
organized. Dr. Moulthrop died September 12, 

The tide of emigration, which may be said 
to have begun in 1835. continued for several 
vears. When the Rockford Societry of Early Set- 
tlers was organized, January 10, 1870, its con- 
stitution provided that male residents of the 
county who settled therein previous to 1840 were 
eligible to membership. According to this stand- 
ard, such names belong to the historic roll of 

Included in the settlers in the county in 1836 
were Thomas Lake, a native of the parish of Sel- 
worthy, in England ; Herman B. Potter, Selden 
M. Church, Abiram and Mary Morgan, Samp- 
son George, an English gentleman ; Dr. Charles 
Henrv Richings. the second resident physician, 
who came from England ; Bethuel Houghton, 
Isaac N. Cunningham, Hiram R. Enoch, Jacob 
and Mary Posson, Nathaniel Loomis and son 
Henrv W. ; Alonzo Corey. Spooner Ruggles, A. 
G. Spaulding. Homer Denton. Charles P. Brady, 
Henry P. Redington. Jonathan Wilson. Edmund 

The emigration of 1837 was equal to that of 
the preceding year. John C. Kemble was the 
first lawver who practiced in this county. He 
became insane and in 1840 he was taken to an 
eastern asylum, where he died a short time after- 
ward. A few of the settlers of 1837 may be 
mentioned : John Lake, who came from England ; 
Henrv Thurston and his son John H. ; William 
P. Dennis. Samuel D. Preston. Eleazer H. Potter, 
Nathaniel Wilder, George W. Brinckerhoflf.Good- 
vcar A. Sanford, Rev. John Morrill. David D. 
Ailing. John Beattie, John Piatt, Benjamin Kil- 
burn," John Miller and sons. Jacob B., Thomas 
and George ; Isaac Toms, Wm. Twogood, Wil- 
liam Peters. Simeon Harmon. Lewis Keith. 
Joseph Hayes. Seth Palmer. 


Contemporaneous settlements were made in the 
several townships of Winnebago county. The 



township of Pecatonica was settled in 1835. The 
first settlers were Ephraini Sumner, William 
.Sumner. Mrs. Dolly Guilford. Isaac Hance, and 
Elijah B. Guilford, who is still living. The tracts 
now covered by the village of Pecatonica were 
first owned by Daniel Reed, and William and 
Ephraim Sumner. In 1852 Thomas D. Robert- 
son and John A. Holland, both of Rockford, pur- 
chased an indivitlual interest in the town ]jlat. 
and with Mr. Reed laid out the village. The ])lat 
was filed for record in December. 1852. During 
the spring of 1853, arrangements were perfected 
by which Mr. Robertson was to make and con- 
vey all titles to .said property. 

N. F. Maynard erected the first building and 
opened the first grocery store in July. 1832. .Sul- 
livan Daniels opened the first ])ublic hotel, called 
the Seward House. In September. 1853. the 
(ialeiia & Chicago L'nion railroad began the re- 
cei|)t and delivery of freight at Pecatonica station, 
under the superintendence of Josiah Stevens. The 
first great improvement for Pecatonica was the 
construction of the turnpike across the bottoms, 
a distance of about one and a quarter miles. It 
was built by subscriptions at a great expense for 
that time, under the direction of Daniel Reed, 
Sr., in tile autumn of 1853. 

The postoffice was established in the autumn 
of 1833, and Tracy Smith was appointed post- 

The Methodist lipiscopal church was organized 
in 1833. by the Rev. I'arton H. Cartwright and 
Rev. Horatio X. Irish. The society met in a 
grain warehouse, where all the religious assem- 
blies convened. In 1834 a small house of wor- 
ship was erected, which served the purpose of the 
society until i8<)8. when a stone church was 
erected. The membership of the church in Octo- 
lx;r, igo4. was 166. Rev. Charles Virden has 
served two years as pastor. 

'Hie I'irst Congregational church was organ- 
ized February 18, 1834. under the direction of 
Rev. Johnson, with a membershii) of six. .\ 
house of wor.ship was dedicated in the autumn 
of 1855. 

The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church 
was organized in the year 1858. by Rev. .Xndreen. 

The First liaptist society was organized in 
Rock Run. May 7, 1843, under the direction of 
William .Still well, and in 1833 was removed to 
Pecatonica. It maintained an uncertain existence 
for .some years, and finally ilisbandcd. It be- 
longed to the Rock River .Association. 

'Hie First L'nivcrsalist church was organized 
August 5. 1835, with seven members. A cliapel 
was built in 1863, .and remodeled in 1873. 

Tlie German i-lvangelical Lutheran church was 
organized about 1874, with a small membershii). 

.\ Roman Catholic society was organized in 
1871-2 with fifty members. 

.\ high school building was erected during the 
summer of 1862, and the first school was opened 
.\ovember 24 of the same year, under the su- 
pervision of J. S. Mabie, who served as principal 
until August 14, 1863. Mr. Mabie afterwards 
became pastor of the First P.aptist church of 

The village of Pecatonica was incorporated by 
an act of the legislature of 1868-9. The bill for 
the incor])oration of the village was introduced 
by Hon. l^phraim Sumner, who was then a mem- 
ber of the house. It now has a population of 
about 1,400. An opera house was built in 1897. 
It is owned by a stock company, and has a seat- 
ing capacity of about Cxio. Irvin S. Sumner is 
the postmaster. 


The first settler in what is now Winnebago 
township was David Adams Holt, who made a 
claim in 1833 to section 34. William Holt came 
in 1836, and another brother, Elijah Holt, in 
1837. Other pioneers of 1838-39 were Alby 
Briggs. and Duty, Richard L.. and Horace Hud- 
son, three brothers. Duty Hudson opened the 
first ])ublic house in the township, which was 
known as the Buck Horn Tavern, at Westfield 
Corners. The first postoffice in the township was 
established there, and Duty Hudson was ap- 
pointed postmaster. The i)lace is designated on 
later maps as Elida. 

The village of Winnebago was laid out in 
1834 by [Duncan Ferguson, under the direction 
of Thomas D. Robertson. John .\. Holland. John 
VanXortwich. and J. D. \\'anier. .\ depot was 
erected in 1854. J. D. Warner was the first sta- 
tion agent, and he held that ])osition twelve years. 
N. G. Warner built and opened the first store in 
1833. The Methodist Fpiscojial church was or- 
ganized as a class, with nine members, in 1839, 
by Rev. Mr. Worthington. The Methodist 
Episcopal society was organized in March, 1855, 
with Rev. Barton H. Cartwright as pastor. A 
chapel was erected the following year. It was 
during the pastorate of Rev. Cartwright, in 1855, 
that the church at Westfield Corners was 
erected. This field is now abandoned. Rev. T. 
.•\. Brewster has served three years as pastor at 
\\'innebago. The church has a membership of 
one hundred. 

The Congregational society was organized 
July II, 1846, with eight nieml>ers. at a meeting 
called for the purpose at Westfield. In July of 
the following year Rev. James Hodges was 
chosen pastor, and remained ten years. He was 
succeeded by Rev. S. P. Sloan, who remained 
until November. 1870. The third pastor was 
Rev. Henry .M. Daniels. .\ house of worship was 
completed and dedicated in 1854. The cliurch 


now has no regular pastor. The membership is 

The Presbyterian church was organized 
August 23, 1868, with twenty-four members. A 
house of worship was erected in 1869, at a cost 
of $4,300. The present pastor is Rev. M. S. 
Axtell. The membership is two liundred and 

The Free Methodist church was organized with 
ten members May 29, 1865. The present mem- 
bership is sixteen. The pastor is Rev. James H. 
Harvev, whose circuit also includes Rockford and 

The Adventists effected an organization in 
1872, with forty-three members. 

The first hotel in \\'innebago was opened in the 
fall of 1859, and was called the Winnebago 

The village of Winnebago has a population of 
about 500. W. F. Tritle is postmaster. Al worth, 
a station on the Illinois Central, receives its mail 
by rural free delivery from Winnebago. A post- 
office was once established at that point, but it 
has been discontinued. 


The township was first known on the records 
of Winnebago county as Butler precinct. The 
name was changed to Cherry \"alley upon the 
adoption of township organization. The land 
now comprising the site of the village was first 
settled by Joseph P. Griggs in 1835. He built a 
small cabin on the west side of Kishwaukee river. 
Mr. Griggs sold the tract to James Works, and 
he in turn sold it to Edwin Fitch, who laid out 
the village and filed the plat for record Novem- 
ber 17, 1849. Among the early settlers follow- 
ing Air. Griggs were A. C. Gleason, and two 
brothers, W. and S. W. Gleason. Densley Kiser 
came in 1836 or 1837. The first store was opened 
by John Waterman : the first hotel was conducted 
by Mr. Ingram, and called the Ingram Tavern. 
The first postmaster was Joseph Riddelle. The 
first grain warehouse was erected by Mr. Cal- 
kins, in the autumn of 1 85 1. The Galena & Chi- 
cago Union railroad was completed to Cherry 
Valley in February, 1852. 

The Methodist Episcopal church was organized 
by Rev. H. L. Martin in 1854. An edifice was 
erected the same year. The membership reported 
to the conference of 1904 was 86. Rev. A. W. 
Gillian was assigned to the field at the conference 
last year. 

The Universalist church edifice was erected in 
1854, under the supervision of Rev. Simon Park. 
After a few years the church was abandoned 
and the building was occupied by a Swedish re- 
ligious society. 

The Freewill Baptist church was erected in 

1874, at a cost of $3,500. The village has a pop- 
ulation of about 500. Mrs. Elizabeth Kittle is 


The village of Durand is a business center for 
a considerable portion of Winnebago county lying 
north of Pecatonica river. The village derives 
its name from H. S. Durand, the first president 
of the Racine & Mississippi railroad. This line 
later became the property of the Western Union, 
and is now owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee & 
St. Paul Railway company, and the line extends 
to Freeport. 

Among the pioneers may be mentioned L. \'. 
Cleveland, John A. Johnson, and Frederic Sid- 
orus, all of" whom came about 1837. The loca- 
tion of the village at this point was the result 
of a compromise between various interested par- 
ties who jointlv purchased the site of John Pet- 
tingill. Price B. Webster, and Edward Peppers. 
The proprietors were John F. Pettingill, Bruce 
B. Webster, Edward Pepper, L. V. Cleveland, 
Solomon Webster, Duncan J. Stewart, M. C. 
Churchill, G. H. Sackett. John R. Herring, Wil- 
liam Randall and D. H. Smith. These gentlemen 
on the i8th day of November. 1856, conveyed 
their interest in trust to J. R. Herring, by whom 
the town was immediately laid out. Durand was 
for about two years the terminus of the Western 
Union railroad. The growth was quite rapid 
during that time. John F. Pettingill erected a 
hotel, the Durand House, at a cost of $13,000. 

The Methodist Episcopal church was organized 
in 1837. Rev. Mr. Whitford preached the first 
sermon at the residence ot Scott Robb. He was 
succeeded by Rev. McCane, who was on the 
circuit one year or more. A chapel was erected 
in 1857. the pastor in September, 1905, was 
Rev. E. O. Stover. The membership reported to 
the conference of 1904 was 58. 

A Congregational church was organized June 
II, 1848, "at Hill's schoolhouse. with seven mem- 

The Roman Catholic church began the erection 
of a house of worship in 1865-66, which house 
of worship remained in an unfinished condition 
for several years. Father Cotter, of Pecatonica, 
is the officiating priest, and holds services every 
third Sunday. 

A Lutheran church, affiliated with the Nor- 
wegian svnod, is now in process of construc- 

The village has a population estimated at 700. 
Miss Lillian J. Harris is postmistress. There is 
a town hall, with a seating capacity of about 
300. There are two banks : The Durand State 
Bank, with a capital of $25,000: and the Citizens' 
Bank, a private banking house. 



m:\v mi I. ford. 

Prominent among the pioneers of New Mil- 
ford townsliip were D. S. Slnimway. Horace 
Miller, and Samuel Pirown. A town was started 
by the river at what is known as the Old Slnnn- 
way ])lace. At one time there were from thirty- 
five to forty frames erected there ; but only a few 
of them were enclosed. This fact gave the place 
the ai>i)ropriatc name of "Rib-Town." 

In iS?8 Dr. .\. M. Catlin came from the West- 
ern Reserve in Ohio, in comjjany with the Rev. 
Hiram Foote and Silas Tvlcr. They were of 
New luijjland stock, and were part of a move- 
ment to found an institution of learning similar 
to the one then flourishing at Oberlin. Ohio. 
These missionary educational managers selected 
a site for their institution near the mouth of the 
Kishwaukee river. .\ large building was begun, 
but never completed. It remained for years as a 
reminder of the first attem])t to found a seminary 
in W'iiuK'bago county. 

In i83(>-40 (ieorge W. Lee i)latte(l a town on 
the up|H'r side of Kishwaukee river, at its junction 
with Rock river. Quite a town was actually built, 
with two stores and a blacksmith shop. P)Oth 
"Rib- Town" and Mr. Lee's plat were named 
Kishwaukee. but the former was abandoned be- 
fore Cieorge W. Lee jilattod the second. The lat- 
ter was sometimes called Lcetown. in honor of its 

The present hamlet of Kishwaukee is a short 
distance below the mouth of the Kishwaukee 
river. There is a postoffice and a \\'eslcvan 
Methodist church, which was organized May i", 
1844. with seven meml)ers. The church was re- 
organized in 1863. A liouse of worship was 
erected in 1868 and a parsonage in 1870. 

The hamlet of New Milford is in the eastern 
part of the township. The Chicago, Burlington 
& Quincy railroad passes by it about half a mile 
to the west. 

There have been several atteni])ts to organize 
churches in the village. The Methodist l".|)isco- 
pal church began as a class about 1838. The 
church no\v has its own property, and maintains 
regular ^rvices. The membership in October. 
KJ04, wiis 122, Rev. S. W, Lauck has served 
two years as pastor. The church at Davis Ju'ic- 
tion also belongs to this circuit. 

The Congregationalist society built a church 
in 1877. This field has been abandoned, and the 
church builcling is now used as a 


The fact has already been noted in this liis- 
torical sketch that .Stephen .Mack was the first 
white settler in what is now Rockton township. 
Those who next succeeded him were William Tal- 

cott and his son, Thomas B. Talcott, who made 
claims July 4, 1835. These gentlemen may be 
regardeil as the first settlers of the village. Two 
other sons of William Talcott, Sylvester and 
Walter Henry, also settled there in 1835, and a 
fourth son, \Vait Talcott, came in 1838. 

The first store was opened by J. .\mbrose and 
Timothy Wigiit in 1837. There is at Rockton 
more head and fall than at any other point on 
Rock river. A sawmill was erecteil in 1838, and 
a tlouring mill in 1839, by Messrs, Talcott and 
.\dams. The village was laid out by William 
Talcott in 1840, but the ]ilat was not filed for 
record until May 30, 1844. The i)ro])rietors were 
.Messrs. Talcott and .\dams. The first bridge 
across Rock river above the month of Pecatonica 
river was built about 1845. Two bridges below 
the mouth of this stream were built a few years 
later. The first hotel was built l)y Jacob Hyatt, 
in 1839. It was a frame structure on the south 
side of .Main street. The next hotel was the New 
jjigland house, completed in 1S46. The third 
public house, a brick building, erected by Porter 
X'inton, was kept by Samuel .\dams, and was 
called the Mansion House. 

The early history of llu- Rm-ktun Baptist 
church is clo.sely identified with that of the Ros- 
coc Baptist church. The Roscoe and Rockton 
I 'nit 0(1 Baptist church was organized in June, 
1 85 1. In 1854 the services at Roscoe were dis- 
continued for lack of suitable accommodations. 
June 28, 1856, the church voted to build a house 
of worshi]} at Rockton, and January 13, 1858, 
the building was dedicated. Rev. James \'eness 
sujjplied the church until 1857, when Rev. D. B. 
Purinton liecame pastor. The church enjoyed a 
rapid growth during this time, when ninety- 
three united in seven years. The following have 
been iiastors since Rev. Purinton's resignation : 
Rev. C. T. Roe. Rev. A. L. Wilkinson. Rev. W. 
Whitney. Rev. James I'.uchanan. Rev. W. M. 
Robinson. Rev. .\. Whitman, Rev. ^^'. G. Evans, 
Rev. T. F. Hamilton. Rev. 1. I. Phelps, Rev. H. 
L. St'eele, Rev. J. C. Hart. Rev. H. Topping. 
Rev. Stephen Crickett. Rev. W. L. Tones. Rev. 
C. W. Woodruff. Rev. T. C. Pedersmi. Rev. C. 
J. Eddy. 

The First Congregational church was or- 
ganized in 1830 by Rev. William .Xdams. Tlie 
first meetings for public worship were held at 
different residences, imtil about 1840, when a 
small temporary structure was erected. .-\ sub- 
stantial stone building was built in 1848, at a 
cost of about five thousand dollars. The society 
has a bell which was the gift of William Tal- 

Tn 1855 Rev. Holland Richardson was sent to 
Rockton as a missionary, and organized a small 
band of Christian workers. In 1856 they were 
organized as a Methodist station under the pastor- 


ate of Rev. C. F. Wright. A church was erected 
in 1859. The pastor in September, 1905, was 
Rev. O. J. Simmons. The membership is 148. 

The Racine & Mississippi Railroad reached 
Rockton October 29, 1856. E. L. Stiles was ap- 
pointed agent and he held that position for 
many years. September 10, 1872. Rockton be- 
came an incorporated town. There have been 
three paper mill plants in Rockton. One of 
these, which was burned down, was never re- 
built. The two now in operation are owned by 
Bradner Smith & Co. and J. M. Coons. Three 
flour mills have also been destroyed by fire, and 
never rebuilt. 

The occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the 
founding of the public school in Rockton was 
commemorated under the direction of the prin- 
cipal, W. W. Austin. At that time W. A. Tal- 
cott announced that he and his father would give 
a lot, building and furniture for a pul)lic library, 
as a memorial of the Talcott family, upon condi- 
tion that the township would support it by a tax. 
This generous offer was accepted. Thomas B. 
Talcott gave the nucleus of books and there have 
been subsequent gifts. The library now contains 
about foiu" thousand volumes. 


August 3. 1835, Robert J. Cross, of Coldwater, 
Mich., and Col. Von Hovenburg, with a Potta- 
watomie Indian for a guide, came from Mil- 
waukee into what is now the township of Ros- 
coc. Mr. Ross bought a claim of Lavec, an em- 
ploye of Stephen T\Iack, upon which he subse- 
quently settled. In September of the same year, 
Elijah H. Brown, James B. Lee, and William 
Alead came from La Porte county. Indiana. 
Lentil a postofiice was established at Beloit. the 
first settlers obtained their mail at Chicago. In 
the spring of 1837 a postoffice was established at 
the village of Roscoe, and M. P. Abell was ap- 
pointed postmaster. The village was laid out 
under the direction of Messrs. Lelands, Jenks and 
Tuttle, and the plat was filed for record August 
3, 1841. The townsliip and village derived their 
names from William Roscoe. a celebrated English 

There are two churches, ^Methodist Episcopal 
and Congregational. The membership of the 
former was reported to the Rock River confer- 
ence of 1904 as 128. The pastor the last confer- 
ence year was Rev. T. E. Fluck, who also sup- 
plied the church at Harlem. 

The Congregational church was organized No- 
vember 28, 1843, with eighteen members. June 
3, 1858, the wife and seven children of Rev. Ills- 
ley, the pastor, were killed or drowned. In 
building the Madison branch of the Chicago & 
Galena railroad, a liigh embankment liad been 

thrown up at the crossing of the creek about half 
a mile above the village. The culvert was too 
small for the volume of water, and up to the 
afternoon of the day of the awful catastrophe, a 
pond two miles long, half a mile in width and 
from twenty-five to thirty feet in depth had 
formed above the embankment. About midnight 
the culvert caved in, the embankment gave way, 
and the water rushed down in one mighty torrent, 
carrying away several houses in its maddened 
rush, among which was the brick house occu- 
pied by Mr. Illsley and family, which toppled 
over and buried beneath its ruins the mother and 
seven children. Mr. Illsley, who had lost a leg, 
was comparatively helpless and was carried away 
by the flood nearly down to the Rock river, where 
he caught in a tree and held on until he was 
found by L. W. Richardson, who waded in and 
carried him out. In the Roscoe Cemetery, near 
the northeast corner, the eight bodies of one fam- 
ily, who had not all been united for some time 
till the day of their death, were buried in one day. 

Rev. Eaton, the venerable father of President 
Eaton, of Beloit college, was pastor of this church 
for many years. 

The Beloit and Madison division of the Chi- 
cago & N'orthwestern railway passes near the vil- 
lage of Roscoe. The Rockford. Beloit & Janes- 
ville electric line passes directly through the vil- 


In August, 1835, William E. Enoch, the eldest 
son of Henry Enoch, accompanied by two or 
three men from Will county, came to what is 
now Guilford township on a land prospecting 
tour. \\'hile out on this trip, young Enoch was 
taken sick and returned liome. In September 
following, his father, Henry Enoch, and brothers, 
Richard H. and A. I. Enoch, started out, and, 
following the direction of William, struck Rock 
river at Rockford. Leaving his sons in camp, 
he started out, and, going northeast from there 
two or three miles, he struck the spring brook 
known as Bucklen creek. Believing this stream 
came from springs, he followed it to its source, 
which he found in the northeast corner of sec- 
tion II, town 44, range 2, now in the town of 
Guilford. Here in the centre of a great prairie 
he found a spring of water 25 feet in diameter, 
the water about 24 inches deep and coming up 
from numerous places in the bottom through 
snow-white sand. The water was cold, and clear 
as crystal : the bank of the spring fringed with 
tall grass and bright prairie flowers. He was so 
charmed with the location, the great spring, the 
apparent fertility of the soil, and the general 
beauty of the surroundings, that he at once made 
up his mmd to make it the tuture home of him- 
self and family. Going to a thicket of hazel and 



younp ])oplar trees a few rods distant, he cut a 
small stake, and plantiiiji^ it on tlie bank of the 
springy, declared it his "claim." This springs be- 
came dry in the early 'seventies. This location 
was known for many years as the h\i^ sprinfj of 
"L'ncle luioch" in the jirairie. .Mr. ImiocIi made 
tnis claim his permanent home until the autumn 
of 1856. ( )ther early settlers of (hiilfurd were 
Elisha -V. Kirk. Thaddeus Davis, Sr.. and his 
sons, David .\.. Thaddeus, Jr., and Daniel; 
Harry Doolittle, J. H. Kirk, "Elisha A. Kirk, 
Giles C. Hard. G. L. Horton. and Dr. Charles 

A town hall was erected about ten years ago. 
tile fnnils for which were raiseil by ta.x levy. Its 
cost was alxnit Si.^cx). It is on the Guilford 
Center road, five miles northeast of Rockford. 


Harrison is one of tlie four extreme northern 
townships of \\'innebag;o countv. The first set- 
tlement in this townshi]) was made in the fall of 
•^35 '•>■ «i ^Ir. Hrayton, who made a claim on 
section 35. In the sprins: of 1836, Mr. Drayton 
moved on his claim and commenced makinpf a 

In 1840 the settlers desired to form a new pre- 
cinct, and it was necessary to present a petition to 
the county commissioners to have a new precinct 
formed. .\t that time a majority of the settlers 
were democrats, and several of the citizens being 
together one day. they pitched upon Isaac Parker 
to circulate a petition. He consented to do so 
on condition that some of his neighbors (who 
were Democrats) would work for him hoeing 
corn while he was absent, to which thev readilv 
agreed. Parker then drew up his jietition. went 
to Rockford. where the countv commissioners 
were in session, and had no difficultv in getting 
a new precinct formed, but was asked what name 
thev should give it. Parker, being a whig, im- 
mediately answered. Harrison, which name was 
adopted. When Parker returned and told how 
well he succeeded, his democratic friends were 
greatly rlisgusteil with the name. When the 
countv was organized imder townsliij) organiza- 
tion the name was continued. 

Its war record is notable. The whole number 
of enlistments was 122: whole number killed 
or died in the service, 24. It is believed that this 
town furnished a larger numlier of enlistments in 
projHirtion to the iiopulation to the number of 
voters than any other town in the county. Of 
the foregoing enlistments. 12 were in Wisconsin 
regiments, and a numl>er are credited to other 

The village of Harrison is in the northeastern 
part of the township, at the junction of Sugar and 
Pecatonica river-;. It is a small settlement ab.iut 

one mile almost directly south of Shirland. It 
has no railroad facilities, and therefore has made 
comparatively little progress since the early days. 
There is a Congregational church, with a mem- 
bership of forty-four, and the ])uli)it is su])plied 
by the jjastor of .Shirland. The Modern Wood- 
men have erected a hall, which is used for public 
meetings and lodge purposes. 


The townshi]! of Shirland borders on the state 
line. The village of the same name is in the 
eastern part of the township. It was originally 
called Kaoota. an Indian name. The village has 
never been incor])orated. It has a ])opu]ation of 
about 125, and is on the Chicago. Milwaukee & 
St. Paul road. Thomas B. Boswell was appointed 
postmaster October 29. 1869, and served until 
about ten years ago, when he was succeeded by 
his son, George E. P>oswell, who still retains the 
office. .A town hall was erected about three years 
ago. in which all township elections and political 
meetings are held. 

The religious needs of the community are sup- 
])lied bv two churches. The Methodist Episcopal 
belongs to the Freeport district and had a mem- 
bershi|3 in October. 1904. of 208. The i)astor is 
Rev. J. C. Jones, who has served seven years. 
The Congregational church is one mile and a 
f|uarter north of the village. It has thirty-three 
members. The ])astiir is Rev. Selby. 


Seward forms the southwest corner of Win- 
nebago comity. It is in this township that the 
highest i)rice has been jiaid for farm land in this 
count}-. The village of Seward is on the Illinois 
Central. .\ Roman Catholic church stands some 
distance north of the railroad track. 

Perhaps few persons now living ever heard 
of the N'ancelxirough ])ostoffice. X'anceborough 
was another name for Twelve-Mile Grove, on the 
State road, about half way from Rockford to 
I'reeport. Ejihraini Sumner settled near there 
when he came to Winnebago county, in 1835. He 
engaged in milling and farming near Twelve-Mile 
( irove, and Ix'came an extensive landowner, 

February 11, 1845. ^^^- Sumner was commis- 
sioned postmaster of N'anceborough. He was to 
retain the office during the i)leasure of the post- 
master-general. The commission is signed by C. 
Wickliffe. who was postmaster-general during 
the administration of John Tyler. The seal is the 
figure of a man on horseback, with a small mail- 
bag upon his back. Both man and horse are 
apparently in great haste to reach the next sta- 
tion. This commission, now in possession of 
Hon. P.. p.. Sumner, is well preserved, although 


it was issued sixty years ago. The elder Sum- 
ner built a stone house at Vanceborough, which 
is still in a good state of preservation, and has 
well-nigh outlived the memory of the town. 
These primitive villages along the old stage lines 
were superseded by the railway station, and thev 
now scarcely live in memory. 

.Among the early settlers of the township were. 
A. Bridgeland, Mrs. Sylvia Conover, Samuel 
Eaulkner, William Fitzgerald, Jacom M. Hamil- 
ton, Rev. Chester Hoisington, Marcus L. Lowrev, 
and Hon. Laurence McDonald. 


The first settlement in Harlem township was 
on the east side of Rock river, on what was called 
Big Bottom, nearly opposite the stone quarry. 
A man named \\'attles staked out his farm into 
lots and streets, and called it Scipio : but even its 
classic name did not give it prestige. The pro- 
prietor built the only house ever completed. The 
stakes remained for several years, until they were 
plowed under by the owner, who could not give 
away his lots. 

Other early settlers were P. S. Doolittle. G. C. 
Hutchins, W. T. Magoon, Peter Mabie, Robert 
Smith, and L}inan Taylor. 

The village of Harlem is a small station on 
the Kenosha division of the Chicago & North- 
western railway. There is a Alethodist church 
some distance from the station. 

Argyle is another hamlet on the Kenosha 
division, near the Boone county line. That por- 
tion of the county was settled in an early day by 
Scotchmen from Argyleshire. Their descend- 
ants support one of the most prosperous country 
churches in Blinois. The present house of wor- 
ship was dedicated Eebruary 14. 1878. The ser- 
mon was preached by the Rev. Francis L. Patton, 
of Chicago, but later president of Princeton uni- 
versity. The church will seat six hundred and 
cost, with furniture, $12,796. Rev. B. E. S. Ely, 
Sr., was pastor at the time the church was dedi- 
cated. The manse adjoins the church. 


Burritt is one of the few townships in Win- 
nebago county, which has no railroad. There are 
no towns or villages with the single exception of 
W^enpletown, in the eastern part. A postofifice 
was formerly located there, but it has been su- 
perseded by the rural free delivery. There is a 
church in the township on section 14. 

Settlements were made in this township at an 
early date. James Atkinson came from England 
in 1837. Other pioneers were Thomas J. Atwood, 
Albert J. Atwood, George A. Atkinson. Edward 
H. Boomer, Jacob B. Conklin, William Dickin- 
son, Jesse Herrington, Joseph Jennings, William 
Ludley, and Jefferson Southard. 


Owen is a township lying directly north of 
Rockford. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
railroad passes through nearly its entire length 
north and south. There is a station at Latham 
Park. There was once a postoffice there, but it 
has been superseded by the rural route. 

Among the early settlers may be mentioned 
Patten Atwood, who went there in 1839 ; Mowry 
Brown, who first came to Rockwood in 1838; 
Wadleigh Favor, William Halley, Frederick M. 
Knapp, James B. Lee, Stephen' O. Thompson, 
Isaac W. Seaverns. 


Laona is the northwestern township of Win- 
nebago county. There are no towns or villages 
in the township. No railroad passes through" it, 
and there is only one church within its borders. 
Among the early settlers of the township were 
Peter Johnson. Niles Patterson, William Phipps, 
and Rienza Webster. 

The late Judge Church is authority for the 
statement that the population of the county in 
June, 1837, was 1,086. In 1840 it was 4,609; 1850, 
11,773 : i860, 24,491 ; 1870, 29,301 ; 1880, 30,505 ; 
1890, 39,938; 1900, 47,845. 


In the summer and autumn of 1835 the settlers 
in this section began to agitate the question of 
local government. This matter was promptly 
brought to the attention of the state legislature. 

The counties organized in northern Illinois 
prior to 1835 were much larger than thev are at 
present. At that time Cook, La Salle and Jo 
Daviess counties extended from Lake ^Michigan 
to the Mississippi river. Jo Daviess was or- 
ganized in 1827. It then extended east of Rock 
river, and included the territory now comprised 
in nine counties. 

Cook and La Salle counties were organized in 
1 83 1. It was the evident intention at that time 
to subdivide these counties at a later day, to 
meet the demands of an increased population. A 
map of Illinois, printed in 1835, represents Cook 
countv with territory attached on the north for 
judicial purposes. La Salle has northern ter- 
ritory annexed for the same purposes, corre- 
sponding to portions of McHenry, Kane, Winne- 
bago and Ogle counties, and all of Boone and 
De Kalb, as at present organized. Jo Daviess is 
shown with annexed territory on the east and 
south. The distinction between Cook and La 
Salle counties proper, and their annexed portions, 
appears to have been in the fact that the former 
were surveyed, while the latter were not. Al- 
though Jo Daviess county was organized eight 



years before the ma]) was ])riiiteil, the map does 
nut even represent the cmnity as surveyed. The 
ci>nilitions, however, in [i-> Daviess were pecuHar. 
The country near dalena inchiding a mining 
camp, witli (piitc a considerable po|)iilation. and 
thus re(|uired a local jjovennnent. Hence the or- 
gfanization of the county preceded by several 
years the government survey of the land. 

The state legislature at that time held its ses- 
sions at \andalia. .\n act of January i6, 1836, 
provided for the organization of Mcllenry, Win- 
nel)ago, Kane. Ogle and Wiiiteside counties, and 
the reorganization of Jo Daviess. Section two 
of the law created Winnebago county, with 
boundaries as follows : "Commencing at the 
southeast corner of township number forty-three, 
range lunnber four, east of the third ])rincipal 
meridian, and running thence west to the said 
meridian, thence north along the line of said 
meridian, to the southeast corner of townshii) 
number twenty-six. in range number eleven, east 
of tiie fourth principal meridian; thence west to 
the dividing line between ranges number seven 
and eight : thence north along said line to the 
northern boundary of the state : thence east along 
said boundary line to the northeast corner of 
range munber four, east of the third ])rincipal 
meridian : thence south to tlie place of beginning." 

Wimiebago was thus formed from the attached 
portions of Jo Daviess and La Salle counties. 
That part of the county east of the third prin- 
ci(>al meridian was taken from La Salle ; the 
portion west of this meriiliau was detached from 
Jo Daviess. .\s at first organized, Winnebago 
count V was almost exactly double its jiresent size, 
and included all of I'loone county, and the eastern 
two townshij) ranges of what is now Stephenson 
county. Wimiebago has never been enlarged or 
reduced from its original form on its northern 
or southern boundary. 


The law to establish the county ordered an 
election to be held at the house of Ciermanicus 
Kent, on the first Monday in ^^ay. for sheriff, 
coroner, recorder, surveyor, and three county 
commissioners, who should hold their offices 
until the next succeeding general election, and 
until tlieir successors were <|iialified. The elec- 
tion, liowever, was not held until the next .Vug^ist. 

No county created by this act was to be or- 
ganized, and an election held, until a majority of 
the voters of the prospective county had ad- 
dressed a petition for the same to the judge of 
the sixth judicial circuit, or. in his absence, to 
another circuit judge. The voters were also re- 
quired to give sufficient proof that the jiroposed 
county ountained not less than three hundred and 
fifty white inhabitants. This task was under- 
taken b\ Dr. Daniel II. Whitney, who had settled 
at I'.elvidere. 

These facts were communicated to Judge 
Thomas II. Ford. He thereupon issued an order, 
dated July 15, 1836, for an election to be held at 
the house of Daniel S. Haight, on the first Mon- 
day in .\ugust. The statute had designated an 
earlier date and another place for this election ; 
but inasmuch as the organization of the county 
dcix'nded upon a prescribed population, a subse- 
(|uent section of the law necessarily referred the 
time and place of such election to the presiding 
judg-e of the circuit. I'nder the first constitution 
of Illinois, all elections for state and coimty of- 
ficers were held the first Monday in .Vugust. 

Gcrmanicus Kent, Joseph P. Griggs and Rob- 
ert J. Cross were chosen judges of election. 
Judge Ford's order has been framed, and is pre- 
served in the office of Captain Lewis I*". Lake, 
the circuit clerk, as an interesting relic of those 
early days. 

The election was held on Monday, .\ugnst ist, 
in a decidedly primitive maimer. Written or 
I)rinted ballots had not then been introduced into 
Illinois. Under the old constitution, all votes 
were to be given vive voce until otherwise pro- 
vided by the general assembly : and up to this 
time no change had been made, 

.Simon P. Doty, Thomas I!. Talcott ami Wil- 
liam E. Dunbar were elected county commission- 
ers : Daniel S. Haight, sheriff: Daniel H. Whit- 
ney, recorder ; Eliphalet Gregory, coroner ; and 
D. A. Spaulding, surveyor. The results of the 
election for member of congress and represent- 
atives in the general assembly are given later in 
this sketch. 

One hundred and twenty votes were cast at 
this election. The names of the voters were as 
follows: David Caswell. George Caswell, David 
I'.arnes, P. P. Burnham, Thomas Crane, Thatcher 
lllake, Seth Scott. Joshua Fawcett, John Bar- 
rett, Jeremiah Frame, John F. Thayer, William 
Randall, John \\'elch, Joshua Cromer. John 
Slavins. David Blake. William P.arlow, Joseph B. 
liaker, Daniel Fairchild. Livingston Robins, 
.\lfred Shattuck. .Mva Trask, William Smith, Ira 
Haskins, John Bunts. .Simon P. Dotv. Milton S. 
Mason. Timothy Caswell. Charles H. Pane. Royal 
Briggs, Solomon Watson, .Xbram Watson, 
Ralzimond Gardner, Mason Sherburne, John K, 
Towner, John G. Lockridgc, John .\Ilen. John 
Lovesse, .\. E. Courtright, Henry Enoch. Ephr- 
aim Sumner. S. P.rown, .\. R. Dimmick, Sanniel 
Hicks, H. M. Wattles, T. R. J. English. Oliver 
Robins, J. P. Griggs, .Aaron V. Taylor, Luke 
Joslin, William Sumner. David D. Elliott, John 
Handy, Jacob Pettyjohn. Daniel .S. Haight, Jacob 
Keyt, John Lefonton, John Kelsoe, William R. 
Wheeler. M. Ewing, Charles Works, Sidney 
Twogood, Phineas Churchill. Thomas P>. Talcott, 
.Austin .Andrews, Thonias Lake, Benjamin Mc- 
Connell, Benjamin DePue, Lewis Haskins, .Aaron 
!'.. Davis. Joel Pike. R. M. Waller, Julius Trask. 



William Carey, Ephraim W'vman, P. D. Tavlor, 
William Brayton. Israel Morrill, Harlvn Shat- 
tuck, David DeWitt, James B. Young, Abel 
Thurston, John Kaudler, John Adams, Alilton 
Kilburn, Richard H. Enoch, Joseph Chadwick, 
Daniel Piper, John Hance, Henry Enoch, Jr., 
Peter Moore, Sylvester Sutton, \'. B, Rexford, 
William G. Blair, Daniel H. Whitney, James Jack- 
son, Isaac Adams. Isaac Harrell, E. A. Nixon, 
John Wood. William Mead, Joseph Rogers, A. 
C. Gleason, Henry Hicks. John Brink, E. 
Gregory, L. C. Waller, James Thomas. G. Kent, 
Chauncey Mead, George Randall, W. H. Talcott. 
William E. Dunbar, S. A. Lee. Charles Reed, 
Charles Sayres, Robert J. Cross. D. A. Spaulding. 
Benjamin White, Jacob Enoch. The votes of two 
men. John Langdon and Thomas Williams, were 
rejected. Not a single voter of this list is now 
living. The last survivor was Harlyn .Shattuck. 
who died in 1899. near Belvidere. 

On Wednesday. August 3d. the county com- 
missioners-elect met in special session at the 
house of Daniel S. Haight. for the transaction of 
business necessary to complete the local govern- 
ment. D. A. Spaulding was elected clerk of the 
county commissioners" court ; and Robert J. 
Cross was chosen trc^urer. William E. Dun- 
bar was sent to A'and-'.ia. the capital of the state, 
with the election '.turns. The term "court" 
might seem to imply that this body possessed ju- 
dicial powers, but such was not the fact. Under 
the constitution of 1818, three commissioners 
were elected in each county for the transaction 
of all its business. This court performed the du- 
ties corresponding in a general way to those en- 
trusted under the present law to the board of 

At this first session of the court the commis- 
sioners divided the county into seven precincts. 
as follows : Yellow River, which included the 
towns of Silver Creek, Ridot. Freeport, Lancas- 
ter, and the south half of Rock River, in Stephen- 
son county : Rock Grove, which included the 
north half of Rock River, all of Buck Eye. Rock 
Grove, and the east half of Oneco, in Stephen- 
son county, and Laona and Howard f^now Dur- 
and) in Winnebago: Peeketolika. corresponding 
to the towns of Seward. Lvsander (now Peca- 
tonica) and Burritt : Kiskwaukee. now the town- 
ships of Cherry Valley. New Milford, and part 
of Rockford township ; Rockford, which in- 
cluded the present townships of Winnebago, 
Guilford, the larger part of Rockford, and the 
south half of Owen and Harlem ; Rock River, in- 
cluding the townships of Shirland. Harrison, 
Rockton, Roscoe, north half of Owen and Har- 
lem, and ^lanchester in Boone county ; Belvi- 
dere, which included all of Boone county except 
IManchester township. This precinct contained 
two hundred and fifty-two square miles ; yet at 

the first presidential election, in 1836, it could poll 
only twenty-three votes. Rock River precinct 
was twenty-four miles in length, and from six to 
twelve in width, and included six townships. At 
the presidential election previously mentioned this 
immense territory could poll but twenty votes. 
The number of precincts was subsequentlv in- 
creased to ten. 

At this session of the court an order was 
issued, which fixed the time and place of hold- 
ing an election in each precinct, for justices of 
the peace and constables. Upon the election of 
these officers the county organization was com- 
pleted. There was as yet no countv seat. The act 
to establish the county, however, had provided 
that until public buildings should be erected for 
the purpose, the courts should be held, as the 
county commissioners should direct. 


The law establishing \\'innebago countv desig- 
nated Robert Stephens and Rezin Zarley, of Cook 
county, and John Phelps, of Jo Daviess, as com- 
missioners, to locate the permanent seat of justice. 
These commissioners were authorized to meet 
on the first Monday in May. 1836. or as soon 
thereafter as may be, at the house of Daniel S. 
Haight. for the discharge of their duty. John 
Phelps never made his appearance. The other 
two commissioners met Juh' 14th, at the place 
specified by law, for the selection of a site for 
the county buildings. 

At the county commissioners' court on Thurs- 
day. .\ugust 4. 1836. the report of the special 
commissioners was presented. The reader will 
avoid confusion bv noting the distinction between 
the three county commissioners elected bv popu- 
lar vote, and the special commissioners designated 
by the statute to locate the county seat. The lat- 
ter reported that on the 14th day of July they 
had met at the house of Daniel S. Haight, and 
that two days later they had selected a site on 
lands owned bv Nicholas Boilvin & Co.. on con- 
dition that the proprietors should execute a war- 
ranty deed to the county of thirty acres of land, 
so long as it should remain the seat of justice. 
On the same day Charles Reed presented to the 
countv commissioners a aeed of twelve blocks, 
containing two and one-half acres each, situated 
about two miles up the river trom the ferry cross- 

The law was very specific concerning the lo- 
cation of a site. It provided that if the site 
chosen should be the property of individuals, in- 
stead of government land, the owners thereof 
should make a deed in fee simple of not less than 
twenty acres of said tract to the county ; or in 
lieu thereof they should pay the county three 
thousand dollars, to be used in the erection of 



county buildings. Mr. Reed may have presented 
his deed in good faith, but it was not accepted 
because it contained an objectionable clause to 
the effect that the county shoukl hold the prop- 
erty "so long as it should remain the seat of 
justice." This reservation defeated his scheme. 
This tract of land came into possession of 
Nicholas I'oilviii about one year ])revious. Mr. 
r.oilvin was at one time a government agent for 
the Winnebago Indians. It lias been noted that 
by the treaty negotiated at Prairie du Chien, 
.\ugust I. i82(>. iK'tween the United States and 
the w'innebagoes. grants of land were made to 
certain descendants of this tribe. Catherine 
Mvntt, a half-breed Indian woman, was one of 
the two who had received two sections each. 
I^revious to this contest over the county seat, one 
of these two unlocated sections had been sold to 
Henry Gratiot. 15y deed executed .\ugust 25, 
18^5. Catherine Mvott conveyed the other un- 
located section to Xidiolas llnilvin for eight hun- 
dred dollars. This was the first individual con- 
veyance of land in Winnebago county. This deed 
was filed for record in Cook county, September 
3, 1835, and recorded by Daniel H. Whitney, 
recorder of Winnebago county, September 8, 
1836. This instrument was the first filed for 
record in this county. The tract located for Mr. 
i'oilvin, by virtue of the treaty of 1829, is the 
east half of section fourteen and all that part 
of section thirteen west of Rock river, in Rock- 
ford townshi]), and contains six hundred and 
thirty-.scvcn acres. At the time Mr. Reed made 
the offer of his deed to the county commission- 
ers, the property belonged to Nicholas Boilvin, 
of Cliicago. Charles Reed, of Joliet. and Major 

.\s soon as the organization of the county 
iK-gan to be agitated. Boilvin and his associates 
determined to secure the location of the county 
seat on their site. The entire tract was platted 
September 14, 1836. It was known as Nicholas 
I'.nilvin's plat of the town of Winnebago, and the 
plat was filed for record September 17, 1836. 
Reed appeared as the principal manager. There 
were two hundred and fifty-one blocks, and these 
were subdivided into two thousand four hundred 
and thirty-six lots. The town was christened 
Winnebago. Reed built a two-story house, to 
be used as a hotel and store, which is still stand- 
ing a few rods alx)ve John H. Sherratt's resi- 
rleiice. .\ free ferry was established : a lime- 
kiln and a blacksmith shop were built : and a road 
opeiu-il through the timber east from Winne- 
bago, to meet the state road from Chicago to 
(ialena. at a point on Beaver creek. Nothing was 
left undone to secure the countv seat : but the 
decision of the commissioners, like the law of 
the Mcdes and Persians, coulrl not be changed. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the special com- 
missioners were given full jwwer by the statute 

to locate the county seat, their selection was 
arbitrarily set aside by the commissioners' court. 
This rejection, however, was based upon a reason 
which would have been considered valid by any 
court. The cpiestion difl not again come before 
the ])eople until 1839. Pending the location of 
the county seat the commissioners ordered that 
the circuit and county commissioners' courts 
should be held at the house of Mr. Haight. 


The ferry was the first mode of transit across 
the river. Ferries were estalilished by special 
acts of the legislature, with regular charters, in 
territory not under county organization. The 
issue of licenses for conducting ferries came 
under the jurisdiction of the commissioners' 
courts in organized counties. In 1836. at the 
.September session of this court for Winnebago 
county. Cermanicus Kent was authorized to es- 
tablish a ferrv at Rockford, at what is now State 
street. He was required to pay a license of ten 
dollars for one year, and rates of ferriage were 

At the same session of the court \'ance & 
Andrews were authorized to establish a ferry at 
^^'innebago, on the same terms for license and 
ferriage as given ?^lr. Kent. C. Doolittlo. by his 
agent. H. M. Wattles, was granted the j^rivilege 
of establishing a ferry where the line between 
Rockford and C)wcn townships crosses Rcick 
river, on the same terms. In the spring of 1836 
Harvey Lowe and Nel.son H. Salisbury, who had 
made claims in Howard in the preceding autumn, 
returned with their families. May i8th they 
crossed the river at the point now spanned by 
Trask's bridge. They were the first to cross in 
the boat which had been launched that da v. They 
had been detained there about a week, and during 
tint time they had assisted in building the boat. 
This ferrv, which was established through the 
agency of Love and Salisbury, to enable them 
to cross their claims, subsequently became the 
thoroughfare in the direction of Mineral Point 
and formed a convenient crossing for all emi- 
grants to the country north of the Pecatonica. 

In 1837 the ferry licenses of Kent and ^^ance 
were extended another year, at the same rates. 
Mr. Kent conducted the ferry at Rockford from 
1836 to 1838. In the latter year a license was 
issued to Kent & Brinckerhoff. The rates of 
ferriage were changed and the license fee raised 
to twenty dollars. These gentlemen were suc- 
ceeded by .Selden M. Church, who continued the 
business until the first bridge was built. 


When Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake 
made their settlements, there were no state roads 



in this vicinity. Indian trails wended their way 
through prairie and forest, but these did not 
greatly facihtate the trayel of the white man. 
At that time Chicago and Galena were the only 
well known points in northern Illinois. The first 
settlements in the state were made in the south- 
ern portion ; and as the tide of emigration poured 
from the east into the Rock riyer valley, after 
the Black Hawk war, each session of the legis- 
lature laid out a number of state roads. 

By an act approved January 15, 1836, James 
Gifford, Daniel S. Haight and Josiah C. Good- 
hue were appointed special commissioners to view, 
survey and locate a road from Meacham"s Grove, 
in Cook county, to Galena, in Jo Daviess county. 
The bill directed that the commissioners should 
make "Elgin on Fox river, in Cook county, Bel- 
videre on Squaw Prairie, in the county of La 
Salle, and Midway at the ford on Rock river, in 
the county of Jo Daviess, points on the said road, 
and shall fix the said road on the most advantage- 
ous ground, for a permanent road, having refer- 
ence to said points." This road was opened with- 
out delay, and State street in Belvidere and in 
Rockford is a portion of this highway, which 
extends nearly across the state in a general north- 
westerly direction from Chicago. 


Mr. Kent was in a sense the first proprietor of 
the colony. He gave it the name of Midway. 
This name was suggested by the fact that the 
settlement was about half way from Giicago to 
Galena. "Midway, Rock River, Jo Daviess 
county, Illinois, June 17, 183s." is the name and 
date Mr. Kent gives in a letter to a friend. The 
law of 1836 which established the State road, 
noted in the last paragraph, referred to "Mid- 
way at the ford on Rock river." 

Under date of October 17, 1837, ^Ir. Kent 
writes a letter from Rockford. The settlement 
was therefore known as ]Midway from one to 
three years. 

Authorities differ as to the origin of the name 
Rockford. One writer says the place was known 
as Rockford by the Indians ; and that this name 
was suggested to them by nature. Upon the site 
of the present dam was a solid rock bottom, 
where the water was usually so shallow as to 
afford easy crossing with their ponies. Hence 
it was called b^' them the rock-ford. 

John H. Thurston gives a somewhat different, 
though not necessarily a conflicting, version. He 
says Daniel S. Haight. Germanicus Kent, Wil- 
liam H. Gilman, of Belvidere, John P. Chapin and 
Ebenezer Peck, of Chicago, and Stephen Edgel, 
later of St. Louis, met at Dr. Goodhue's office, on 
Lake street, in Chicago, to name the claim, or 
mill privilege, which they hoped at some time 

would become a town. "Midway," though an 
appropriate name, was not in favor. Various 
names were suggested and rejected, until Dr. 
Goodhue said : "Why not call it Rockford, from 
the splendid rock-bottom ford on the river there ?" 
The suggestion seemed an inspiration, and was 
at once unanimously adopted ; and from that day 
to this. Dr. Goodhue has been given the credit 
of the present name. The date of this christen- 
ing is uncertain. Mr. Thurston says it occurred 
in the summer of 1835; -but the statute of Janu- 
ary, 1836. still designated it Midway. News 
traveled slowh', however, in those days ; and pos- 
sibly the solons at Vandalia had not learned of 
the change. 


The first surveys in Winnebago county were 
made early in 1836. Don Alonzo Spaulding, a 
pioneer of 1835, was the government surveyor. 
One of his associates was Hon. Charles B. Far- 
well, of Chicago, who in 1887 succeeded the late 
General John A. Logan as a United States sen- 
ator from Illinois. In October, 1835, Mr. 
Spaulding began the extension of the third prin- 
cipal meridian, at a timber corner about two miles 
north of the point where this meridian crosses 
the Illinois riyer, on the western boundary line 
of La Salle county. Mr. Spaulding extended the 
third principal meridian north to its intersection 
with the Wisconsin boundary line. Mr. Spauld- 
ing surveyed the range and township lines in all 
of Winnebago county, and the western range of 
Boone : and subdivided all of Winnebago except 
New Milford and Cherry \'alley townships. 


jNIethodism was established in Winnebago 
county in 1836. It was therefore the vanguard of 
the church militant to enter and possess the land. 
The official record of the first society has not 
been preserved. 

Galena was the first appointment within the 
bounds of the present Rock River conference. 
It was at that time, in 1829, in the Illinois con- 
ference, which comprised the states of Indiana 
and Illinois. The Indiana conference was formed 
in 1834. After this separation of Indiana from 
the Illinois conference, the latter still covered a 
vast region. In the autumn of 1835 Rev. Wil- 
liam Royal was appointed to the Fox River mis- 
sion. Rev. Samuel Pillsbury was associated with 
him. This mission circuit extended northward 
from Ottawa. In June, 1836, Rev. Pillsbury 
preached a sermon at the home of Henry Enoch, 
in Guilford township, seven and one-half miles 
east of Rockford. This was the first service in 
the county conducted by a Methodist clergyman. 


PAST AND l'RESi:.\T (U W l.\.\lil!AGU CUL'XTY. 

On that occasion Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Beers and 
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Gre<;ory traveled six miles 
in a heavy lumber wagon drawn hy a yoke of 

This service was followed during: tlie sum- 
mer by occasional sermons by Rev. Royal at Mr. 
Enoch's house : and Mrs. Enoch often prepared 
Sunday dinners for the cont^recfation. On his 
wav to conference at S])rin};field. in the autumn 
of iS,^^>, Rev. Royal passed tlirouijh Rockford. 
Monday afternoon, September 2d, he jireached 
in .sanniel Ure^'ory's lofj liousc, which stood on 
what is now block fourteen in Gilbert Woodruff's 
second addition to Rockford. At the close of the 
sermon Rev. Royal orjjanized the first Methodist 
class, which consisted of five persons : Samuel 
Greg'ory, Joanna (irejjory, ^fary Enoch. Daniel 
I'.eers and Mary Ileers. These pioneer Metho- 
<lists have been honored by five memorial front 
windows in Centennial church. 

At the conference of 1836 Bishop Roberts ap- 
pointed Dr. Arnold to the Sycamore circuit, of 
which Rockford was a part. The few Methodists 
gathered for worship as often as possible at Mr. 
Gregory's house. In 1837 the conference met 
at Rushvillc, when llisho]) Roberts sent William 
( laddis, with Robert Lane, as assistant, to the 
Rockford circuit. Tiiis circuit belonged to the 
Chicago di.strict. over which John Clark was pre- 
siding elder. Mr. Lane soon retired from the 
field, and he was succeeded by Leander S. 
Walker. At the conference of 1838, at Alton, 
Bishop Soule returned Mr. Walker to Rockford 
as ])reacher in charge, with Nathan Jewett as 
assistant. During the earlv i)art of Mr. Walker's 
pastorate he ])reached in the house of James Bos- 
well, north of the brewery. The Methodists sub- 
scf|uently worshi]>ed in a building erected by Mr. 
Ilaight on the site of the .American House. This 
building was used for various i>uri)oses. In the 
summer of 1838 the Methodists built a parson- 
age on First .street, between Prairie street and 
Lafayette avenue, facing west. This was the 
first Methodist parsonage built within what is 
now the Rock River conference. 

Tlie Rock River conference was organized 
.'Vngust 26, 1840, at Mt. Morris. Bishop Waugh 
]>rcsiiled over this conference, which was held in 
a grove. Rockford was retained in the Chicago 
district, with John T. Mitchell as presiding elder, 
and Semphronious H. Stocking as circuit 
preacher. .August 25. 1841. the conference was 
held at Platteville, W'isconsin, when Bishop Mor- 
ris sent John Crummer to Rockford. 

.August 3. 1842. the conference met in Chi- 
cago, and Bishop Roberts assigned Rockford to 
the care of Silas BoUes. .At this time the Metho- 
dist church was worshiping in what was after- 
ward knf)wn as the "old seminary l)uilding." This 
structure had been begun as a Congregational 

church, but was abandoned for the church built 
on the West side 1)\- Kent and Brinckcrhoff. In 
1842 the Methodists bought this "seminary" 
property of the county commissioners, and held 
it for .some years. September 20, 1842, the First 
Methodist church became an incorporate body, 
with five trustees, as follows: Horace Miller, 
James B. .Martyn, Samuel Gregory, Daniel Beers 
and Willard Wheeler. At the conference in Du- 
bufjue, Iowa, .August 30, 1843, Rockford was 
made a "station," and Bishop Andrews sent Rich- 
ard Blanchard. November 10th of that year the 
trustees of the society purchased of Daniel S. 
Haiglit the lot on which the parsonage had been 
built five years previous. The consideration was 
two hundred dollars. 

I'"e1)ruary 25, 1846. the trustees purchased of 
William II. (iilman, lots one, two, three, four and 
five, in the east half of block thirty-one, front- 
iTig on South Second street, between Oak and 
Walnut. The consideration was tliree hundred 
and twenty-five dollars. These lots, except lot 
one. are the same upon which the Centennial 
church and parsonage now stand, and which were 
occupied by the I'irst church and parsonage. The 
contract for building the l-'irst church was made 
with M. II. Regan, in 1846, but it was not com- 
pleted until 1848. 

l-'rom 1 84 1 to 1853 Rockford had been a part 
of the Mt. Morris <listrict. In the latter year, 
the conference, which met at Chicago. September 
14th, redistricted the work, and the Rockford 
district was formetl. ISi.shon Scott sent Luke 
I litchcock to the district as presiding elder. Wil- 
liam Taskcr was assigned to the First church, 
and "West Rockford" was left to be supplied bv 
Mr. Chatfield. 

Of the sixty sessions of the Rock River con- 
ference eight have been held in Rockford. The 
first convened with the First church. July 18, 
1849. Edmund S. James was presiding bishop. 
.August 26. 1857. tlie conference convened in 
Court Street church, with Lewis Scott as presid- 
ing bishop. .At the conference held with the First 
church, September 23. 1863. Bishop Scott again 
jiresided. October 0, 1S72, the conference met 
in the Third Street church, with I'ishop Isaac W, 
Wiley iiresiding. The next conference in Rock- 
ford met (\-tober 13. 1880. in Court Street 
church. Bishop Hurst presided. The charge 
of heresy preferred against Dr. H. W. Thomas 
was considered and referred to the presiding 
elder of his district. September 21. 1884, the 
conference convened with Centennial church. 
Bishop Henry W. Warren presided. Bishop 
Mallalieu presided at the conference held with 
Court Street church, September 27, 1887. The 
eighth conference convened with Centennial 
church, October 3, 1800, with Bishop Hurst in 
the chair. 




The first marriage was that of Dr. Daniel H. 
Whitney and Sarah Caswell, and was solemnized 
bv Rev. Seth S. Whitman, of Belvidere, Decem- 
ber ID, 1836. The first marriage ceremony 
within the present limits of the coimty was that 
of Jeremiah Roberts and Harriet Clausen, and 
was performed December 11, 1836, by Sylvester 
Talcott, a justice of the peace. The first mar- 
riage, however, reported in the registery in the 
county clerk's office is that of William P. Randall 
and I\Iiss Delia Driscoll, solemnized February 13. 
1837, by William R. Wheeler, a justice of the 

Melissa J. Long, daughter of John B. Long, 
born in February, 1836, is entitled to the distinc- 
tion of being the first white child born in the 
county. The first male child, Ogden Hance, was 
born in what is now Pecatonica township. 
George E. Dunbar, son of William E. Dunbar, 
was born in 1836, in a little log house situated 
about one block south of Kent street, on ?ilain. 
Mrs. T. W. Carrico. a daughter of Benjamin Kil- 
burn. was also among the earliest accessions by 
birth to the population of the village. 


An act of the legislature, approved March 4, 
1837, provided for the reorganization of Winne- 
bago countv, and the creation of Stephenson and 
Boone. The latter was named in honor of Col- 
onel Daniel Boone, the first white settler of Ken- 
tuck}-. By this act Winnebago county was re- 
duced to one-iialf its original size. The reader 
will find it necessary, in tracing the boundary 
lines, to have before him maps of Winnebago 
and Boone counties ; also some acquaintance with 
the township survey system. Confusion will 
arise if it is not remembered that the townships 
in ^^'innebago county, west of the third prin- 
cipal meridian, are numbered from a different 
base-line from those east of this meridian. It 
must also be borne in mind that the ranges west 
of the third principal meridian are numbered, not 
as ranges west of the third principal meridian, 
but as east of the fourth principal meridian. 

The first section of this law creates Stephen- 
son county from the eastern portion of Jo Daviess 
and the western two ranges of Winnebago, as the 
latter had been organized the preceding year. 
The next section defines the new boundary of 
Winnebago. The line begins at the northeast 
corner of Stephenson, as formed by the preced- 
ing section ; thence running east on the state line 
to the section line between sections five and six, 
in township forty-six north, range three east of 
the third principal meridian : thence south on 
said section line to the south boundary of town- 

ship forty-three north, range three east ; thence 
west on said township line to the third principal 
meridian ; thence north on said meridian to the 
southeast corner of township twenty-six north, 
range eleven east of the fourth principal 
meridian ; thence west on said line to the range 
line between ranges nine and ten east of the 
fourth principal meridian ; thence north to the 
place of beginning. 

The third section of this law contemplated the 
boundaries of Boone as they now exist, except 
the mile-strip on the west. This law was 
seriously defective in defining the boundary lines. 
The intention of the legislature, however, was 
obvious and was accepted until two years later, 
when the act of March 2, 1839, corrected the 
errors, which may have been either verbal or 

Bv comparing the boundary lines of Winne- 
bago and Boone, as defined by the act of 1837, 
with an atlas of the counties, it will be observed 
tnat the eastern boundary of Winnebago was 
exactly one mile east of the present line. Thus 
established, Boone was only eleven miles wide. 
The western tier of sections, which clearly be- 
long to Boone under the p-overnment survey, was 
denied her and given to \A'innebago. 

This manifest injustice to Boone county was 
a thorn in the flesh of her citizens and finally pre- 
cipitated what is known as the "mile-strip con- 
test," the most bitter controversy of those early 
days. The statement is twice made in Kett's 
History of Boone county that the assignment of 
this mile-strip to Winnebago in 1837 was a com- 
promise to conciliate conflicting interests in this 
county. These "conflicting interests" were prob- 
ably the ambitions of East and West Rockford 
for the county buildings. The extra mile-strip 
may have been given to Winnebago, at the in- 
stance of clever manipulators, to increase the vot- 
ing strength of that part of the county east of 
Rock river. 

In 1843 the question of annexing this mile- 
strip to Boone county came before the legislature. 
An enabling act, approved February 28th, pro- 
vided that sections six, seven, eighteen, nineteen, 
thirty and thirty-one, in townships forty-three, 
fortv-four, forty-five and forty-six, range three 
east, should be annexed to Boone, if the voters on 
the mile-strip should so elect. The strip com- 
prised what is now the western tier of sections 
in the townships of Manchester, Caledonia, Belvi- 
dere and Flora, in Boone county. An election 
was ordered to be held at the house of Samuel 
Keith, in the village of Newburg. W'innebago 
countv. May 4, 1843. The citizens of Rockford 
were deeply interested in the result, although the 
county seat had recently been relocated on the 
West'side, and the voters the preceding year had 
expressed a preference for that side. They were 


I'Asr AND i'Ri:si-.\ r oi- w ixxi-.i'.aco torxiv. 

not III cuursc. allowi-il to vole. Only those on 
the mile-strip liad a voice in the matter. The elec- 
tion called ont ninety-five votes. Fifty-one were 
lor annexation to l!o<ine, and forty-four against 
it ; a majority of seven in favor of lioonc. This 
election added twenty-fonr sections of valuable 
land to our eastern neighbor, and thus greatly 
increased luT taxable property. 

I 111-: FIRST TW I.KVY. 

I he first tax levy was oruercd 1)\ the county 
commissioners' court, at its .March term, 1837. 
One-half per cent, tax was levied on town lots, 
horses and mares, meat cattle above three years 
old, watches, carriages, and wagons, and a tax 
of one- fourth ])er cent, on stock in trade. 
Through some technicality, this levy was de- 
clared illegal, and a second levy was made. At 
that time farm lands were not taxable. They 
were not |)laced u])nii the market at the land of- 
fices until two years later, and for three years 
thereafter they were exem])t from taxation. It 
was not until 1842-43 that any county revenue 
was obtained from this source. The revenue re- 
quired to meet the expenses of the county until 
the lands became taxable was derived from as- 
sessments against ])ersonal property. Under this 
order the total amount levied was five hundred 
and sixty-two dollars and fifty-nine and one-half 


The first frame building in Rockford was 
erected in 1836. by Sidney Twogood and Thomas 
Lake. It was a story-and-a-half structure, and 
stood on the southwest corner of State and Madi- 
son streets, and faced east. It was first occupied 
as a general store by Harry W. Bund}- and 
George Goodhue. The latter was a nephew of Dr. 
Goodhue. This firm continued in business there 
only about two years, and then removed to Beloit 
in the spring of 1838. 

The second frame structure was built for 
naniel .S. Ilaight. on the northeast corner of 
State and Madison streets, and to which reference 
has already been made. 

James B. Martyii, who came from Alabama 
upon Mr. Kent's .solicitation, claimed to have 
built the first frame house in the county, outside 
of Rockford. in 1836. on his claim on the State 
road, one mile east of the intersection of State and 
Third streets. Mr. Martvn died at Belvidere in 

The first theatrical performance was given Oc- 
tober j«). 1838, in the old Rockford House. The 
manager of the company was the elder Jefferson, 
father of the world-renowned Joseph Jcflferson. 
"Joe" was but a youth, and acted in "Lord 
I»vell." then a new play. The company was 

weather-bound in Rockford while en route from 
Chicago to (ialena. The river was not passable 
by reason of heavy moving ice. 

The first tailor in Rockford was William 11. 
Tinker, who came from Massachusetts. He was 
in the village in 1836, but he did not consider the 
outlook very ])romising, and he left the field. In 
June, 1837, Parson King Johnson, from I'.ran- 
don, Vermont, came to Rockford, and found Mr. 
Tinker's cutting board in the rear room of Bundy 
iS: ("roodhue's store. Mr. Tinker returned to 
Rockford. and the firm of Tinker & Johnson be- 
came the first ill that line in the village. The firm 
occupied the u|)per room in a building on the site 
of Ti I South .\Iadison street. 

The first shoemaker was ICzra r>arinim. He 
was father of .\nson Barinim and Mrs. James 
M. \\'ight. and grandfather of Mrs. Sherratt. 
Mr. r>arnum came from Danbury, Connecticut, 
in the summer of 1837. .\ history of Danbury 
shows the Barnums to have been an old family 
of that city. 

The first brick was made in the autumn of 
1837 by Cyrus C. Jenks, in Guilford, about three 
and a half miles northeast of the town. 

The first carpenter cannot be determined with 
accurac\' : but it is probable that Thomas Lake 
and .Sidney Twogood were the first skilled work- 
men. The first saloon was o])ened in 1837. by 
Samuel Little, an luiglishman. He ])ut up a 
small one-story building near 316 Last State 
street. The first blacksniilh was probably one of 
the men em])loyed by Mr. Kent. The second was 
William Penfield. His frame building was on 
the northeast corner of Madison and Market 
streets. William V. Dennis was the first house- 
painter, and in 1837 he disi)layed his skill on Mr. 
Haight's first frame house. The first drug store 
was opened early in the summer of 1838 by "Dr." 
Marshal, a Scotchman. It was on the north side 
of State street, about eighty feet from the river. 
The first bakers were Ephraim Wyman and 
Bethuel Houghton, who did business in 1838 as 
I)artiiers on South Main street. The first store 
was kept by John \'ance, in a log cabin on South 
First street, opposite the city hall now in process 
of construction. 


Xew England Congregationalism came with 
the early settlers. This institution was firmly es- 
tablished within three years after the arrival of 
Mr. Kent and .Mr. I'.lakc, and it has maintained 
a strong and intluential position in Rockford until 
the present time. The First Congregational 
church was organized May 5, 1837, with nine 
members: Rev. [ohn Morrill, Herman B. Potter, 
Israel Morrill. " Richard .Morrill. Elizabeth P. 



]\[on-ill, AFarv J. Morrill, Sophia X. IMorrill, 
Minerva Potter, and Eunice Brown. 

The church was founded by Rev. John Mor- 
rill, at the home of his brother. Israel Morrill, on 
the west side of the river. It is therefore the 
oldest church in Rockford, inasmuch as the First 
Methodist church, formed the previous year, 
ceased to exist. The three ^lorrill brothers and 
their wives constituted just two-thirds of the 
original membership. During its first year the 
church had attained a membership of twenty 
souls. Israel Morrill and H. B. Potter were the 
first deacons. 

The first confession of faith and form of cove- 
nant, adopted temporarily at its organization, 
was that recommended by the Watertown pres- 
bytery. One year later. May 4, 1838, this was 
displaced by the articles of faith and covenant of 
the Rock River Congregational Association. 

Rev. John Morrill was the first pastor. Very 
little is known of him previous to his removal to 
the west. He had come in a farm wagon from 
Xew York as a home missionary to this cotmty, 
where his brother had previously settled. Mr. 
Morrill served as pastor one year from May, 
1837. The late Mrs. Eunice Brown Lyon is au- 
thority for the statement that Mr. Morrill received 
no formal call to the pastorate of the Congrega- 
tional church. He was the leading spirit in its 
organization, and he may have assumed the work 
with the understanding, explicit or implied, that 
he should serve as its pastor for a time. This 
pioneer minister died at Pecatonica February 16, 


Soon after its organization the church held 

services in the "stage barn,"' built by Daniel S. 
Haight, near the intersection of State and Third 
streets. Only a few years ago this structure was 
standing on the farm of Isaac Rowley, near the 
city. In the summer of 1838 the trustees began 
the erection of a frame structure on the west side 
of X'^orth First street, on a site near the residence 
of Irvin French. When the building had been 
enclosed and shingled it was learned that !\Iessrs. 
Kent and Brinckerhoff had obtained about eight 
hundred dollars from friends in New York for 
a church. Instead of turning over this money to 
the society to complete the church, these gentle- 
men built an edifice on their own side of the 
river. This building was raised in the summer 
of 1838, and enclosed the same season. \\'hen it 
was completed they turned it over to the society 
for worship, but retained their nominal title. .\t 
that time they possessed no legal title to the land 
from the government. The unfinished building 
on North First street was abandoned, and was 
never afterwards used bv this church as a house 
of worship. It was. however, devoted to other 
purposes, which will be noted in subsequent 

The building erected by Kent and Brinckerhofif 
was the first church edifice in Rockford, and stood 
on the southwest corner of Qiurch and Green 
streets. It was a frame structure, clap-boarded, 
in Doric style, forty-five feet square inside, and 
stood on a foundation of blocks of trees, cut in 
the adjoining grove, with sills resting upon them 
about three feet above the ground. In fact, the 
greater portion of the buikling material was ob- 
tained from adjacent lots. The building fronted 
to the east, and had three windows on each side. 
A porch about ten feet wide extended across the 
front, covered by an extension of the roof, which 
was supported b>' four fluted wooden columns. 
This sylvan sanctuary was occupied by the First 
church about six years. 

The Ladies" Foreign iMissionary Societv was 
organized in 18^8, just one year after the found- 
ing of the church. The originators of this move- 
ment, like the founders of the church, were 
largely from New England, who had been in- 
terested in foreign missions and education in their 
eastern homes, and who had not left their zeal 
behind them, although they might properly have 
considered themselves on home missionary 

The second pastor was Rev. Cyrus L. Watson. 
who served the church from Xovember. 1838, to 
May, 1841. He was a genial, social elderly gen- 
tleman, a good pastor, and he was highly es- 
teemed. His death occurred at Battle Creek, 
Michigan. Rev. William S. Curtis, D. D., sup- 
plied the pulpit from X'ovember. 1841. to August, 
1842. Dr. Curtis subsequently became pastor of 
the Westminister Presbyterian church. His death 
occurred in 1885, and his funeral was held June 
1st, from the Westminister church. Dr. Curtis 
was succeeded by Rev. Oliver W. Norton, who 
was the pastor from September. 1842. until some 
time in the following year. Rev. Lansing Porter 
served a brief pastorate from February, 1844, to 
April, 1846. 

In the spring of 1846 the churcli dedicated a 
new house of worship on tne East side. It was a 
brick structure, and stood on the northeast corner 
of South First and Walnut streets, on the site of 
the new citv hall. Its dimensions were forty by 
sixty feet : the walls were twenty feet high. A 
])rojection at the rear lormed a recess for the 
pulpit. The roof was one-quarter pitch, with a 
square tower on the center of the front, rising 
about twentv feet. From this tower a bell called 
the people to their public devotions. The bell 
belonged to Rev. Norton, and he took it with him 
when he went away. W. A. Dickerman, as agent 
for the church, subsequently purchased a Aleneely 
bell, in Xew York, weighing six hundred and 
forty pounds. This church continued to be the 
house of worship for this congregation until 



The construction of a new house of worship 
is frequently, and perhaps generally, followed by 
a change in the pastorate. Such was the ex- 
perience of this society soon after the dedication 
of its new church. The resignation of Rev. Lan- 
sing I'orter was followed by a call to the Rev. 
Lewis H. Loss, whose pastorate began in August, 

The pipe organ used in this church was built 
by PL IL Silsby and his brother. The organist 
at one time was Rufus ILttch, who subsequently 
removed to Xew York, and became one of the 
most famous operators on Wall street. During 
his residence in Rockforil he was engaged in the 
dry goods business on East State street, near the 
site of the Coyncr urug store. His home was on 
South Madison street, where Miss Kate O'Con- 
nor's residence now stands. Mr. Hatch removed 
from Roc'Kt'ord alxiut 1856. When .Mr. Hatch 
becaiue wealthy, he presented the pipe organ 
which is in use in the ])resent house of worship, 
to Dr. and .Mrs. (kiodwin. The doctor was pastor 
when this church was dedicated. This splendid 
gift, whicii cost four thousand dollars, was Mr. 
Platch's personal token of esteem for Dr. Good- 
win. Some time later Dr. (ioodwin ])reached a 
sermon on music, in which he referred to its 
high place in Christian worshi]). .\t the close of 
this discourse Dr. (ioodwin said that he and Mrs. 
Goodwin rclin(|uished all claim to the organ. "It 
is henceforth neither mine nor yours, but the 
Lord's, to whom I now dedicate it." 

Dr. Loss" pastorate continued until Xovember, 
1849. He was a man of ability and thorough edu- 
cation. He went from Rockford to Jolict. where 
he had charge of a church until 1856. His last 
pastorate was at Marshalltown, Iowa, where he 
died. In his last illness lie longed to see his old 
friend and physician. Dr. Lucius Clark, of this 
city : and his church sent for the doctor and paid 
his traveling expenses. 

Dr. Loss was succeeded by the Rev. Henry M. 
Goodwin. D. D., who perha])s gave to the church 
its most distinctive i)astorate. It extended from 
.August. 1850. to January. 187J. This period of 
more than twenty-one years constitutes nearlv 
one-third of its entire history. The interim be- 
tween the departure of Dr. Loss and Dr. Good- 
win's acceptance was supi)lied by Prof. Joseph 
Emerson, of Pieloit college. Dr. Goodwin was 
graduated frnni ^'ale, and the Rockford church 
was his first (k'lrish. 

.Soon after leaving Rnckford. Dr. (ioodwin 
wrote a Itook entitled Christ and Humauitv. which 
was publislied l)v the Harpers. It was dedicated 
to his friend in these nol)le words: "To Horace 
liushnell. my reverend friend and teacher, whose 
profiiimil and sanctified genius has made the 
world his debtor, and whose eminent services to 
C1iristianit\ in the reconciliation of faitli and rea- 

son await the verdict of the future ages, these 
later studies of Christian doctrine are filially and 
affectionately inscribed by the author." This 
work was written while the author was enjoying 
an extended sojourn in (iermaiiy. In 1875 Dr. 
(ioodwin was called to the chair of English liter- 
ature by the college at Olivet, Michigan, which he 
filled for several years. His death occurred at 
the home of his daughter. Mrs. Weld, in Wil- 
liamstown. Massachusetts, March i. 189^. Dr. 
Goodwin was seventy-one years of age. His re- 
mains were brought to Rockford for burial. 

The following named ministers have been Dr. 
Goodwin's successors to date : Revs. Wilder 
Smith. Theodore Clifton, William White Leete. 
F'rederick H. Bodnian. and Frank M. Sheldon, 
who began his pastorate Sunday, September 3. 
1895. The present membership is about 385. 

FIRST I'.VTRioTic ci-:i.i:i!K.\ rn ).v. 

The iiatriotism nf the little village did not dif- 
fer essentially from the jirevailing tyi)e. It neces- 
sarily found its expression in more primitive ways 
than it does at the present time. There was 
such a display of elo(|uence and gunpowder as 
the times afforded : and the amusements differed 
somewhat from those of to-day. 

The morning of July 4, 1837. was welcomed 
with the boom of all available artillery. William 
Penfield's blacksmith's anvil did heroic service. 
.A. hickory liberty-pole was raised near what is 
now 310 East State street. Patriotic exercises 
were held in Mr. Haight's barn, which stood in 
the grove near the intersection o( State and Tl-ird 
streets. The bay was floored for the speakers, 
and the ihreshing-fioor was occu])ied by the ladies. 
Charles 1. Ibirsman read the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, and Hon. John C. Kemble was the 
orator of the day. Dinner was served in the old 
Rockford House by the ]jro])rietor. Henry Thurs- 
ton. The main part of the building had been 
covered with a roof, and was sided to the first- 
stovy windows. Loose boards were laid for a 
floor, tables were arranged, and. in the absence of 
crockery, the cold meat was served on shingles. 
The tickets for this dinner were sold at one dollar 
each, and this feature of the celebration was a 
financial success. The celebration was concluded 
with a public ball, the first in the county, given 
in Mr. Haight's barn. 


The act establishing the county had provided 
that until public buildings should be erected, the 
circuit courts should be held at the house of Mr. 
Kent or Mr. ilaight, as the county commissioners 
sliould direct. At the first session of this court 
it was ordere<l that, pending the location of the 



count}- seat, the circuit courts should be held at 
the house of J\Ir. Haight. An examination at the 
circuit clerk's office reveals the almost incredible 
fact that no records of this court previous to 1854, 
except the simple dockets of the judge, have been 
preserved. The conclusion must be drawn that 
this docket was the only record made at the time. 
Memoranda kept by individuals have given facts 
upon which the official records are silent. 

The first circuit court convened at the house of 
Daniel S. Haight, October 6, 1837. This is the 
frame building which stood on the northeast 
corner of Madison and State streets, and a part 
of which is now on the northeast corner of Sec- 
ond and Walnut streets. At that time there was 
no elective judiciary. Under the old constitution 
the justices of the supreme court and the judges 
of the inferior courts were appointed by joint 
ballot of both branches of the general assembly. 
Under this same fundamental law, these courts 
appointed their own clerks. The state's attorney 
was also ajipointed. The statute of 1835 P''0" 
vided that the general assembly, on joint ballot. 
at that session, and every two years thereafter, 
should choose one state's attorney for each ju- 
dicial circuit. 

At this first court Hon. Dan. Stone, of Galena, 
was the presiding judge. Seth B. Farwell was 
appointed state's attorney pro tem ; and James 
^Mitchell, then of Jo Daviess county, clerk. Mr. 
Mitchell held this position until 1846, when he 
was chosen superintendent of the lead mines. He 
was succeeded as clerk by Jason Marsh, who was 
appointed by Judge Thomas C. Brown. The 
offices of circuit clerk and recorder w-ere separate 
until the second constitution went into effect, 
when they were united, and this officer was made 

The petit jurors on duty at the first term were: 
Edward Gating, James B. Martyn, Joel Pike, Wil- 
liam Pepper, Richard Montague, Isaac N. Cun- 
ningham, Thatcher Blake, Henry Thurston, 
Charles I. Horsman, David Goodrich, James Jack- 
son, and Cyrus C. Jenks. There were but two 
trials by jury, and these were of very little im- 

The sessions of May. 1838. and April 18. 1839, 
were also held at Mr. Haight's house ; although, 
for convenience, a room in the Rockford Hotise, 
on the corner west, was actually used when more 
room was required. The first grand jury was im- 
paneled at the May term. 1838. The names of 
this jury were : Anson Barnum. Lyman Amsden. 
Isaac Johnson, James Sayre, H. AI. Wattles, Asa 
Daggett, H. W. Gleason. Samuel Gregory, Asa 
Crosby, Daniel Beers, Walter Earle, Isaac Hance, 
Benjamin T. Lee, E. H. Potter, Paul D. Taylor, 
Lyman B. Carrier, Aaron Felts, Cyrus C. Jenks, 
James B. Alartyn. Livingston Robbins. Henry 
Enoch, and Luman Pettibone. Anson Barnum 

was appointed foreman. At this term the usual 
order was reversed, in that the judge occupied one 
of the few chairs in the house, while the jury 
"sat on the bench.'' 

The first building erected for the use of courts 
and religious meetings was built by Mr. Haight, 
in the summer of 1838, on the southeast corner 
of Madison and Market streets, on the site of 
the American House. It was a frame structure, 
about sixteen by thirty-two feet, with one story. 
This house, with additions, is now the residence 
of William G. Conick. In this building were 
I)robably held the sessions of November, 1839, 
and April, 1840. Several of the lawyers who at- 
tended the courts in those days attained distinc- 
tion in their profession. Among these may be 
mentioned Judge Drummond, then of Galena, 
who removed to Chicago and became a judge of 
a federal court : Thompson Campbell, of Galena ; 
Joel Wells, who canvassed the district for con- 
gress ; Norman B. Judd, of Chicago ; and Seth 
B. Farwell and Martin P. Sweet, of Freeport. 
The famous John Wentworth, "Long John," 
made his maiden speech in Rockford, as attorney 
in a case that promised to bring him prominently 
before the public. Mr. Wentworth made fre- 
quent visits to Rockford in later years ; and for 
several terms he represented the Belvidere dis- 
trict in congress. 

September 12. 1840, the county purchased the 
abandoned building on North First street, which 
had been commenced by the First Congregational 
church two years before. The consideration was 
six hundred dollars. The deed was executed bv 
H. B. Potter, E. H. Potter, and S. D. Preston. 
Since the building had been abandoned by the 
Congregationalist people it had been used as a car- 
penter's shop. When the county obtained pos- 
session the building was partially finished so that 
the courts could be held there. The session of 
September 10, 1840, and subsequent sessions were 
held at this place until the transfer of the court 
house to the West side. 


The state roads naturally prepared the way for 
the stage coach. The railroad had not then 
reached this western region, and the only com- 
mon carrier was "the coach and four." Stage 
lines were then running from Chicago in several 
directions. They carried mails, passengers and 
light parcels. Frink, Walker & Co. became fa- 
mous throughout this region as the proprietors of 
the one stage line which connected Chicago with 
Rockford. It is impossible to determine the pre- 
cise date when the stage coach began to make 
regular trips on this line as far west as Rockford. 
It is certain that it had thus become an established 
institution not later than January i, 1838. On 


tliat (l;iy ilu- arrival of the siai,'f coach in Rock- 
foffl attracted the attention of the peoijle of the 
villafje. and hir^e numbers came from tlie sur- 
roim(Hii}jf country to witness the siK'Ctacle. The 
stafje office in Chicago was for a lonj; time at 123 
Lake street, and later at tlie southwest corner of 
Lake and Dearborn. 

Frink. Walker & Co. first ran their sta.tje lines 
only from Chicago to Rockford. The coaclics 
were alwavs drawn by four horses. In 1840 the 
schedule time from Chicago to Rockford was 
advertiseil to be twenty-four hours. Horses 
were changed at intervals of fifteen miles, at 
stations built for this purpose. Frink, Walker 
& Co.'s stage barn in Rockford was the well 
known barn near the intersection of State and 
Third .streets, and faced nttrth and south. It 
was built in 1836 for Mr. Maight by Sidney Two- 
good and Thomas Lake, l-'ew buildings in the 
county have served more diverse uses. It was 
there the first patriotic exercises were held ; 
tiiere the First Congregational people first held 
public services on the East side. When Frink, 
Walker & Co. |)urchased the building, it was 
luoved a few rods west, and turned to face east 
and west. There the first (|uarterly meeting of 
the I'irst Methodist church was held in the sum- 
mer of 1838. 

Coaches left tlie main office in Chicago every 
Sunday. Tuesdav and Thursday, and returned on 
alternate days. The fare from Chicago to Rock- 
ford was five dollars. 

From Rockfi>rd to Galena the stage lino was 
conducted for a time by John D. Winters, of 
l-llizabeth. a little town south of Clalena. The 
route first i)assc<l through Elizabeth, but subse- 
(|uently the luore direct route was by wav of 
I'reeport. The first stopping-place west of 
Rockford was Twelve-Mile drove. Mr, Winters 
retired from the business after a time, and then 
Frink. Walker & Co. had the entire line from 
tliicago to ( ;alena. The late William Cunning- 
ham was in the employ of this firm at one time 
as a driver between Twelve-Mile Grove and 


The first hotel in Rockford was the Rockford 
House. The early ])ublic houses were more 
generally called t;uerns. lleforc the Rockford was built, .Mr. Kent and a number of the 
other settlers had entertained strangers, but not 
as regular hotel-keei)ers. The Rockford House 
was Iniilt by Daniel S. Haight and Charles S. 
Oliver. It stood on the site of the Young Men's 
Christian .Association building. The wing was 
finished in the aiUimin of 1S37, when the house 
was o|)ened by Henry Thurston. The third story, 
which was divided into two rooms, was reached 

b\ a ladder, which was made by slats nailed to 
two pieces of the studiling, in the first story of 
tlie main building. The pro()rietor's son John 
was an important functionary. He made the 
beds and escorted the guests u)) the ladder when 
they retired. He was admonished bv his sire 
not to drop the melted tallow from the di]) ujMin 
nis guests. .Mr. Thurston's successors as land- 
lord were Lathro]} Johnson, Daniel Howell, .An- 
drew lirown, J. SchaefYer, .\bel Cami)bell, E. 
Radcliflf. .Major John William.son, Elam Zim- 
merman. This hotel was burned March 7, i86g. 
The second hotel, the Washington House, was 
built in 1838 by two brothers. Jacob B. and 
Thomas Miller, and opened to the |)ublic the fol- 
lowing year. Jt stood sixty feet front on .State 
street, with large additions in the rear, with base- 
ment kitchen, dining-room, and sleejiing apart- 
ments above the dining-room. The name of this 
hotel was changed to the Rock River house. A 
part of the building stands on 307 East State 
street, and is occu])ied as a fruit store. Another 
part is the saloon building on the southeast cor- 
ner of State and .Madison streets. The suc- 
cessive proprietors nf the house w-ere : Jacob 
Miller. David Paul, McKenney & Tyler, E. S. 
r.lackstonc, W. Fulton. H. D. Searles, L. Cald- 

The log tavern, known as the Stage House, 
was opened in 1838. It was built on the old Sec- 
ond Xational Hank corner. Brown's Cottage was 
opened in 1850 by .\ndrcw Brown. The name 
was changed to the .American House in 1852 bv 
G. S. \Ioore. The Waverly and the Union 
House, near the Xorthwestern depot, on the West 
side, were opened in 1852. The Inn, which was 
located where the Chick House now stan<ls. was 
opened in 1840 by Spencer & Fuller. The I^agle 
Hotel was ODcned in 1841. It was located on 
>ontli Main street, in the third block below State. 
In the autumn of 1838 was erected by Dr. 
Haskell the brick building wiiich was known 
later as the Winnebago House, on Andrew .\sh- 
ton's corner. When laying out the ground for 
the cellar Mr. Silsby persuaded Dr. Haskell to 
set his building six feet from the line of the 
street. The Winnebago House was the first brick 
store built above Rock Island on Rock river. 
Into this store Dr. Haskell moved the slock of 
goods from the building on the river bank which 
hafl been occu|)ied by Piatt &• Sanford : and he 
and Isaiah Lvon continued the business. In 1843 
-Mr. Lyon closed <iut the stock and converted the 
building into a hotel, luider the name of the 
Winnebago House. Mr. Lvon's successors as 
proprietor were X. Crawford. C. C. Cobern. P. 
C. \\'atson, James P.. Pierce. Isaac X. Ciuuiing- 
ham. and D. Sholts. The building passed into 
Mr. Seaton's hands in 1854 and was afterwanl 
rearranged into stores. 




As noted in a previous paragraph. Dr. A. M. 
Catlin emigrated to Illinois from the Western 
Reserve, in Ohio, in February, 1838. He moved 
to a log cabin on the bluff overlooking Big Bot- 
tom, four miles north of Kockford. A Hoosier 
by the name of Shores had worn a slight track 
between his home back on the hills and a iilowed 
field on the Bottom, and this was the onlv road 
near the doctor's new home. A small, inconstant, 
near-by stream, like the road, lost itself in the 
dry prairie. At that time Dr. Catlin intended to 
abandon the practice of medicine. To feed his 
little family, he nired a broken prairie of Her- 
man B. Potter, who lived two miles south of 
Rockford. This land, six miles from home, the 
doctor cultivated under difficulties, for it soon 
became known to the scattered people that he was 
a physician, and, like Cincinnatus, he was called 
from the plow. He was not a man to deny the 
necessities of others ; and against his wishes at 
the time, he was drawn into the practice of his 
profession, which he continued tmtil near the day 
of his death, nearly sixty years later. He had 
practiced in early life in New York and Ohio, 
and his entire professional service lasted seventy 
years. He died in t8q2. at the age of ninety-one. 

Dr. Josiah C. Goodhue settled in Rockford in 
the autumn of 1838. He had attained some dis- 
tinction before he became a citizen of this county. 
He was born in 1803, at Putney, Vermont. The 
doctor was graduated from the school of medi- 
cine at Yale, and began practice at St. Thomas, 
Upper Canada, in 1824. While there he was 
married to Miss Catherine Dunn. The doctor 
emigrated from Canada to Chicago in 1835. He 
was the first resident physician in that city out- 
side the garrison of Fort Dearborn. When Chi- 
cago was incorporated as a city in 1837, Dr. 
Goodliue was elected the first alderman from the 
First ward. There were six wards in the city at 
that time. William B. Ogden was chosen mayor 
in that year. Dr. Goodhue designed the first 
city seal of Chicago, and it became known as his 
little baby. He was quite proud of his offspring. 
The doctor was the real founder of the first free 
school system of Chicago. He was one of a com- 
mittee appointed to solicit subscriptions for the 
first railroad chartered to run from the city, the 
Galena & Chicago Union. In his practice in Chi- 
cago Dr. (ioodhue was associated with Dr. 
Daniel Brainard. Their office was on Lake 
street, near the old Tremont House. John \\'ent- 
worth and Ebenezer Peck were engaged in the 
practice of law in the same building. Dr. Good- 
hue was one of the men who drew the act of in- 
corporation for Rush Medical college, and was 
a member of the first board of trustees. Dr. 
Goodhue's first house in Rockford was what was 
then known as the "ball alley," on the northwest 

corner of ]Madison and \\'alnut streets, where the 
Golden Censer brick building was subsequently 
erected. He afterward purchased a home on the 
site of the watch factory : and the house was 
moved away when the factory was built. The 
lot had at one time a pleasant grove, with no 
fence. Reference was made in a preceding para- 
graph to the fact that Dr. Goodhue gave to the 
city of Rockford its name. Dr. Goodhue had 
thirteen children, five of whom died under five 
years of age. Four sons and four daughters at- 
tained adult life. One son, George Washington 
Goodhue, died of yellow fever, in Mexico, dur- 
ing the war with that country. Another son, 
William Sewcll, died from illness contracted dur- 
ing the Civil war. He had read law with James 
L. Loop. Dr. Goodhue's oldest daughter, jMrs. 
C. F. Holland, widow of Jolm A. Holland, and 
step-mother of H. P. Holland, now resides in 
Chicago. Mrs. Hoyt Barnum, another daugh- 
ter, is a resident of Rockford. Dr. Goodhue's 
death was the result of an accident on the night 
of December 31. 1847. He was called to make a 
professional visit to the family of Richard Stiles, 
four miles west on the State road. After caring 
for his patient, he accompanied Mrs. Stoughton, 
a neighbor, to her home. The night was dark, 
and he fell into a well, which was then being 
excavated, and had not been covered or inclosed. 
Mrs. Stoughton had asked him to wait until she 
returned with a light : but Isefore she came back 
the doctor had made the fatal fall. He survived 
only a short time after he was taken from the 
well. His death was deplored by the entire com- 
munity. He was a positive character : nature had 
liberally endowed him in qualities of mind and 
heart. Dr. Goodhue was an attendant at the 
Unitarian church. Mrs. Goocinue was an Epis- 
copalian. She died October 14, 1873. A son of 
Dr. Goodhue died November 14, 1880. 

Dr. Alden Thomas was born at Woodstock, 
\'ermont, November 11, 1797, and was a lineal 
descendant from John Alden. He was married 
to Elizabeth Marsh, June 15, 1824. In the 
autumn of 1839 the family came to Rockford. 
He practiced medicine about five or six years, and 
then removed to a farm two miles south on the 
Kishwaukee road, where he lived about two years. 
The family then returned to the village, and 
lived for a time in a house still standing on South 
Second street, and later in the Grout house near 
the corner west of the First Congregational 
church, which Dr. Thomas built. He opened a 
drug store soon after his return from the farm, 
and continued in this business until a short time 
before his death, which occurred iMarch 21, 1856. 


On the morning of April 16. 1838. Dr. Haskell 
and family, IMowry Brown and wife, Samuel 



Haskell. 11. 11. Sil.shy, Isaiah Lyoii, Caleb P.lood 
aiul William Hull boanleil the steamboat Gipsy 
at Alt! III. Illinois. The destinatinn of this party 
was RtK-kford. Tlie river was hijjh, the bottom 
lands were overflowed, and the boat sometimes 
left the ehannel of the .Mississii)))i and ran across 
points of land, and once went tbronsht a jjrove 
of timber. When the Gipsy arriveil at Rock 
Island and ran alonjjside the wharf-boat, a strong 
wind from the east turned the bow out into the 
stream. .\s the Ixxit turned, the rudder struck 
the wharf-boat and broke the tiller rojies. This 
accident rendered the boat unmanageable, and 
it was blown across the river to Davenport, 
Iowa. While at Rock Island Dr. Haskell con- 
tracted with the ca|)tain that upon his return from 
( ialena he would steam up Rock river to Rock- 
ford. .\t Savamia, Samuel Haskell. William 
Hull and H. H. Silsby left the Gipsy. They had 
come to the conclusion that the boat would never 
reach Kockfonl: and in company with Moses 
Wallen. of Winiiebas'o village, where the county 
seat had been located by the special commission- 
ers, they started afoot for Rockford. They 
stop])ed over night at Cherry Grove, and the next 
morning they traveled to Crane's Grove, on the 
stage route from Dixon to Galena. There they 
hired a c<iach and team which brought them that 
evening to Liximis' Hotel. 

Mr. Silsby writes that a few days after his 
arrival he arose one morning as soon as it was 
light to see if he could discover any sign of the 
(jipsy. He was rewarded by the sight of dense, 
black smoke, near Corey's bluff, which seemed to 
be moving uj) the river. Soon the Gipsy came 
in sight, and the ])eople gathered on the banks of 
the river and cheered the lx)at as it ascended in 
fine style until nearly over the rapids, when it 
suddenlv turned, swung around, and went down 
stream much faster than it ascended. It rounded 
to and tried it again, and soon turned down 
stream a second time. After several attempts, 
with the ai<l of a fjuantity of lard thrown into the 
furnaces, the boat ran up the swift current, and 
soon tied up to the bank in front of Piatt & 
Sanford's store, which stood near the water's 
edge, in the rear of the .Masonic Temple site. 
The ( iipsy was the first steamer that visited 
Rockford. It was a stern-wheeler, not less than 
one hundred feet in length, and perhaps thirty in 
width. It had a cabin above the hold, and an 
upper deck, ripen and uncovered, lliere were 
several state-rooms. 

Dr. Haskell was a native of Massachusetts. He 
was born at Harvard. March 23, 1709. His 
father. Samuel Haskell, removed to Waterford. 
Maine, in 180V I" 1821 the son went to Phil- 
lips I'xeter academy, and entered Dartmouth 
college in 1823. He left his college class in his 
sophomore year, and studied medicine until 1827. 

when he received the degree of M. D. from the 
college. While in college he taught one term of 
district school in East Haverhill. One of his 
pu|)ils was lohn (i. Whittier : and the school- 
master in Whittier's "Snow- Bound" was his for- 
mer teacher. On page thirty-four of Samuel T. 
rickard's Life and Letters of Whittier, is found 
this allusion to the hero of this jioem: "Lntil 
near the end 01 Mr. Whittier's life he could not 
recall the name of this teacher whose portrait is 
so carefully sketched, but he was sure he came 
from Maine. .\t length, he remembered that the 
name was Haskell, and from this clew it has been 
ascertaine<l that he was ( ieorge Haskell, and that 
he came from Waterfnrd. .\laine." Dr. Haskell 
never api:)eared to have been aware of the fact 
that his gifted Haverhill nupil had immortalized 
him in "Snow-Bound." Dr. Haskell also received 
this tribute as a teacher from his illustrious 
j)ui>il. as given in a later chapter of Mr. Pick- 
ard's biographv: "He [Whittier] was accus- 
tomed to say that only two of the teachers who 
were emplovcd in that district during his school 
days were fit for the not very exacting |iosition 
they occupied. P.oth of these were Dartmouth 
students : one of them George Haskell, to whom 
reference has already Ix^en made." Dr. Haskell 
began the practice of medicine at East Cambridge, 
.Massachusetts, in 1S27. and removed to .\shby, in 
tlic same state, in the following year. 

Dr. Haskell came to Illinois in 1831. and set- 
tled at Etlwardsville. and two years later he re- 
moved to L'pper Alton. While there he became 
one of the founders of Shurtleflf college, of 
which he was trustee and treasurer. The doctor 
built u]) a large jiractice, which he soon aban- 
doned. November 7. 1837, the cause of the 
slave received its first bai)tism of blood. On that 
day Rev. Elijah P. Lovejov was murdered at 
Alton, for his bold utterances in behalf of an 
oppressed race. Dr. Haskell entertained radical 
anti-slavery views, and he determined to leave 
that ])ortion of the state in which the pro-slavery 
sentiment was largely prednminaiit. 

From the time of his arrival in Rockford until 
his removal from the city about twenty-eight 
vears later. Dr. Haskell was a broad-minded, 
re])reseiitative man of affairs. He conducted for 
a short time a mercantile business on the river 
bank, as the successor to Piatt & Sanford. But 
his ruling passion was horticulture. He entered 
from the government c|uite a tract of land lying 
north of Xorth street, and built the house on 
North .Main street now occupied by (ieorge R. 
h'orbes. He ])I:nited a nursery and became an 
expert in raising fruit. It is said that one year 
he raised sixty luishels of peaches. The severe 
winter of iS!;^-^^) killed his trees, and from that 
time he devoted his attention to more hardy 
fruits. His later Rockford home was on Nortii 



Court street, near the residence of Hon. Andrew 

Dr. Haskell was generous and public-spirited. 
He and his brother-in-law, John Edwards, pre- 
sented to the city the West Side public square, 
which -was named Plaskell Park, in honor of the 
former. A street, called Edwards Place, forms 
the southern boundary of the park. A ward 
schoolhouse in \\'est Rockford also bears Dr. 
Haskell's name. In 1853 Dr. Haskell became a 
convert to Spiritualism, and April 15, 1854, he 
began the publication of the Spirit Advocate, an 
eight-page monthly. The paper was an able 
propagandist of the new faith. A complete file 
of this paper has been preserved in the Rockford 
public lilirary. Twenty-three numbers were 

In 1866 Dr. Haskell removed to New Jersey. 
There he was engaged in founding an industrial 
school, and purchased with others a tract of four 
thousand acres «hich was laid out for a model 
communit}'. In 1857 Dartmouth college gave the 
doctor the degree of A. B., as of the year 1827. 
Dr. Haskell died at Yineland, New Jersey, 
August 23, 1876. 

PIONEERS OF 1838-1839. 

James ]\Iadison ^^'ig■ht was born in Norwich, 
^Massachusetts, in 1810. He was admitted to the 
bar of Queens county. New York, in 1837, and 
immediately afterwards came west. He first 
joined his brother. J. Ambrose Wight, in Rock- 
ton. But he found no field in that village for the 
practice of his profession : and he came in 1838 
to Rockford, where for a time he taught school. 
In his earlv life he served a few terms as city 
attorney of Rockford. He was one of the 
pioneer lawyers of northern Illinois, and built 
'.ip a large practice. He was for many years local 
attorney for the Chicago & Northwestern rail- 
road and for other corporations. He was also 
for a time a member of the state legislature, and 
served on the judiciary committee. Air. Wight 
was a member of the constitutional convention 
of 1870. called to draft a new constitution for 
submission to the voters of the state. He died 
in Rockford in 1877. 

Jason Alarsh was born in \\'oodstock, Windsor 
county, Vermont, in 1807. He came to Rock- 
ford in 183Q. He was accompanied by his wife 
and children, a brother and wife, and his three 
brothers-in-law. Soon after his arrival he and 
the three Spafford brothers built the brick house 
three miles south of State street, on the Kish- 
waukee road, later owned by F. J. Morey. A 
large farm was attached. ]Mr. Marsh drove daily 
to the village, where he practiced his profession. 
His later home was the residence subsequently 
owned bv the late W. W. Fairfield, on East State 

street. In 1862 Mr. Marsh entered military 
service as colonel of the Seventy-fourth Illinois 
Infantry. He was severely wounded at the battle 
of Missionary Ridge in the autumn of 1863, and 
returned home. Two months later he again went 
to the front. In the campaign from Chattanooga 
to Atlanta his old wound troubled him, and he 
resigned. His last years were spent on his farm 
near Durand. His death occurred at the home of 
his daughter in Chicago. March 13, i88r. He 
was buried in Rockford with military honors. 

Francis Burnap was born at Merrimac, New 
Hampshire, January 4, 1796. Mr. Burnap set- 
tled in Rockford in August, 1839, and began the 
practice of law in Winnebago and neighboring 
counties, in the state supreme court, and in the 
federal courts. He practiced his profession until 
1864, when ill health compelled him to retire. 
Mr. r.urnap died in Rockford, December 2, 1866. 

Duncan Ferguson was a native of Scotland. 
He was born in Glasgow, in November, 1810. In 
1837 he left his native land and came to the 
United States. He first settled in Pennsylvania, 
where he remained two years, ilr. Ferguson 
removed with his family to Rockford in 1839. In 
1840 he was elected surveyor and justice of the 
peace. He held the office of surveyor until 1856. 
In 1862 he was appointed assessor of internal 
revenue. He held this position eight years, and 
then resigned. For ten years Mr. Ferguson was 
supervisor from the Seventh ward of the city. 
March 3, 1873, he was elected chairman of the 
county board to succeed Hon. Robert J. Cross, 
who had died February 15th. ]\Ir. Ferguson re- 
tained this position until 1881. In 1877 he was 
elected mayor of Rockford, and served one year. 
He held the offices of city engineer, assessor, 
county treasurer, and commissioner of the county 
under an act of the legislature for the improve- 
ment of Rock river. His death occurred May 
14, 1882. 

Thomas D. Robertson was born in Edinburg, 
Scotland, March 4, 1818. He came to the United 
States in 1838. He stopped for a time in Chi- 
cago, and arrived in Rockford in December of 
the same year. Mr. Robertson studied law in 
Rockford and at Madison, Wisconsin. He was 
admitted to the bar, and was a prominent prac- 
titioner for some years. In 1848 Mr. Robertson 
and Tohn A. Holland opened the first banking 
house in Rockford in a building adjoining the 
European Hotel site on West State street. From 
that time he gradually abandoned the practice of 
law, and devoted his attention to banking and 
real estate. 'Sir. Robertson was a leader in the 
movement to secure the extension of the Galena 
& Chicago Union railroad to Rockford. He had 
charge of the collection of the subscriptions to 
the capital stock in Boone, Winnebago and Ogle 
counties. Mr. Robertson continuously resided in 



Rockford for .■.ixiv-niu- \i;ii>. His death oc- 
curred l'\'hruary 4, Iip2. 

Ira W. I'.akiT arrived at Rock river ( )ctolKr 
(>. 1S3S. on Saturday, at siiiulown, with Iiis fam- 
ily of eii^ht. from a ijraiidmotlier of seventy to 
a Ijabe of four. 

Hon. I-M\vard II. I'.aker. son of Deacon Ira 
I taker, was l)orn in I'errishurs. X'ermont, April 
3, i8j8. and when ten years of age he came 
with his father to W'imiebajjo county. Mr. 
I'akcr received his education at Knox coUejje and 
Illinois colleije at Jacksonville. He stinlied law 
and was adnntled to the bar. .\t one time he 
was in partnership with his father-in-law, Jason 
Marsh. L'jion the orijaniz-ition of the Rockford 
& Kenosha railroad, Mr. I'.aker was chosen sec- 
retary of the comiiany. He was elected mayor of 
Rockford in 1866, and served one year. His 
death occurred January 2C1, i8t>7. 

Henry .\. I'.aker. another son of Deacon Baker, 
was also a native of I'errishurtr. N'ermont. For 
many years he was ensra.ired in the real estate and 
loan business in Fast Roi-kford. Mr. i'.aker was 
for some time |)resident of the boird of education. 
He died in the west a few months asjo. 

Daviil S. Penfield was the first of three broth- 
ers to settle in Rockford. He was a native of 
I'ittsfield. X'ermont. and was born in 1812. Mr. 
I'entield and the late SlieiVherd Leach came to 
Rockford in i8_^8 by way of Dixon. There was 
then no stable currency. Larsje numbers of 
private banks furnished a currency of more or 
less value, and each state had its own issues. The 
exchanjie of money in travclintr from state to 
state was therefore attendeil with not a little dif- 
ficidty, and c<insideral)le risk. The unsettled 
coimtry was infested with bandits, and travelers 
were never sure, when seekintj entertainment for 
the niyht, whether they would escape the snare 
of the fowler. I'pon their arrival in Rockford. 
Mr. Penfield and Mr. lA-acli ])nrchased a large 
tract of land on the West side. They were also 
in mercantile business on tlic site of 322 Fast 
State street, and there employed the first tinner in 
Rockford. Mr. Penfield formed a partnership 
with his brother John G. in the real estate and 
loan luisiness : and sul)se(|Uently became a mem- 
ber of the bankiu};^ firm of l'.ri}jp;s, SpafFord &■ 
i'enfield, which was luerjjed into the Third Xa- 
tional I'.ank. Mr. Penfield died May 20, 1873, 
at the ape of sixty-one years. Some years ajjo 
Mrs. Penfieltl !,'ave the site to the Younjj Men's 
Ciiristian .Association on which its sjilendid build- 
ini: now stands. 

Sheiihenl Leach, to whom reference was made 
in the prccediiifj paraj^rajih, was an extensive 
landowner, and amassed a larpe estate. Mr. 
Leach was g-ifted with keen business sagacitv, 
and was successfid in nearly every enterprise. He 
had an extensive ac<|uaintance among business 

men: was straightforward in his dealings; and 
withal, was a man who jiossessed many (pialities 
worthv of emidation. Mr. Leach died Inlv 9. 
1SS5. ' 

\Villard Wheeler came from St. Thomas, 
L'|)per Canada, in .'September. 1839. He was the 
second tinner in the town. .Mr. Wheeler was a 
brother of the late Solomon Wheeler. He built 
the house on South First street where Mrs. Julia 
.\. Littlefield resides. To Mr. Wheeler belonged 
the honor of being the first mayor of Rockford. 
He died .\i)ril 24, 1S76. 

The Cunningham brothers were among the 
last survivors of that early period. Samuel Cim- 
ningham was born .\ugust 15, 1815. in Petcrboro. 
Hillsboro county, .Xcw Hamjishire. He came to 
this county in the .s])ring of 1839. His active life 
was devoted to agricidture. He served one term 
as county commissioner. He died September 2S:. 
1902. His brother. William Cunningham, came 
to Rockford in the sjiring of 1838. He spent 
nuich of the intervening time on the Pacific coast, 
but later lived a retired life in Rockford. He 
died January 7. 1903. The writer was imlebted 
to these brothers for valuable historical infor- 
mation. Another brother, I'.enjamin l-'ranklin 
Cunningham, preceded Samuel to Rockford in 
the spring of 1831). He ownecl a beautiful home 
below the city, on a rise of ground which com- 
mands an extended northern an<l southern view 
of the river. He died June 20, i()oo. A fourth 
brother, Lsaac Xewton Cimningham, previously 
noted, came to Rockford at an earlier date. 

Joel P>. Potter was born in I'airfield county, 
Connecticut, in 1810. I'rom there the family re- 
moved to ( )rleans county, Xew York. He re- 
ceived a collegiate education and iirejiared him- 
self for the Presbyterian luinistrv. His health 
failed, and he never resumed this calling. In 
1839 he came to this county, where his brothers 
Hemian P.. and Flcazer had jireceded him. In 
the same year Mr. Potter built the house now 
owned by Judge Morrison. He carried on a 
farm for some years, and was subse<|uently en- 
gaged in the <lrug business on Fast .State street. 
He conducted the store alone for a time, and later 
with his son-in-law, J. 1'. Harding, as a partner. 
untU the death of Mr. Harding, in 18^17. when 
Mr. Potter retired from business. He died Xo- 
vember 30, 1880. 

Tlie llerrick family came from eastern Mas- 
sachusetts in 1838-31). I^lijah L. llerrick. Sr., 
and three .sons, h'phraim. I^'lijah I... Jr.. and 
William, arrived in Rockford in 1838: and the 
following year there came three sons. George, 
Fdward, and Samuel, and four daughters, 
Phoebe, Sarah, Martha, ami Hannah. .About 
1841) the father of the family built a cobble-stone 
house on what is now F.ighteenth avenue. 

v.. L. llerrick was born :it .\ndover. Massa- 



chusetts, September 30. 1820. Mrs. Herrick, 
previous to lier marriage, wasr a teacher in Rock- 
ford seminary. She came in September, 1852, 
and taught three years. 

The three Spafford brothers came to Rockford 
in 1839, in company with their brother-in-law, 
Jason Marsh. Their father was Dr. John Spaf- 
ford. The eldest son, Charles H. Spafford, was 
born in Jefferson county. New York, January 6, 
1819. He was educated at Castleton, \'ermont. 
He had chosen the profession of the law, but his 
decision to come west changed his plans in life. 
Mr. Spafford performed a conspicuous part in 
the development of the city. He held the offices 
of postmaster, circuit clerk, and recorder. He 
was president of the Kenosha & Rockford Rail- 
road Company. Mr. Spafford, in company with 
his brother John, and John Hall, built Aletro- 
politan Hall block. The stores and offices were 
owned separately and the hall was held in com- 
mon. Mr. Spafford also, with others, built the 
block now known as the Chick House. Mr. Spaf- 
ford died in September, 1892, at the age of 
seventy-three years. Mrs. Spaft'ord died July 19, 

Amos Catlin Spafford was born September 14, 
1824, in Adams, Jefferson county. New York. 
After he came west he followed farming in this 
county until 1848. About 1854 he became a mem- 
ber of the banking firm of Briggs, Spafford & 
Penfield. Upon the organization of the Third 
National Bank in 1865, Mr. Spafford became its 
president, and held this position for thirty-three 
years, until his death. In 1876 he was one of the 
state commissioners at the centennial exposition. 
Mr. Spafford died suddenly at Adams, New 
York, while on a vacation, August 22, 1897. 
Mrs. Spafford died May 22, 1898. 

John Spafford was born November 26, 1821. 
During his long life in Rockford he was engaged 
successively in farming, grocery, and grain and 
limiber trade. In 1856 he became the general 
agent of the Rockford & Kenosha Railroad Com- 
pany. Until within two years of his death, Mr. 
Spaft'ord was president of the Rockford Wire 
Works Company and the Rockford Suspender 
Company ; he was also interested in manufactur- 
ing a lubricating oil, and in a planing-mill. Mr. 
Spafford died September 5, 1897. 

Phineas Howes was a native of Putnam county. 
New York, and was born September 25, 181 7. 
He came to Rockford in 1839. He was a car- 
penter and joiner, and followed this trade for 
many years. He purchased a tract of land in 
Cherry Valley township. For about fifteen years 
he was a partner with John Lake in the lumber 
trade. By strict attention to business, Mr. Howes 
accumulated quite a large estate. His death oc- 
curred October 11, 1894. 

William Worthington was born at Enfield, 

Connecticut, July 5, 1813. He came to Rockford 
in the spring of 1838. About 1840 he built a 
brick blacksmith's shop on the southwest corner 
of State and First streets, where the Crotty block 
now stands. This shop was eight or ten feet be- 
low the present grade. Later Mr. Worthington 
built a wa.gon shop on the same lot, about the 
same size, of wood, one story. This was the first 
wagon shop on the East side. There were then 
no other buildings on those corners. Mr. Worth- 
ington was the next blacksmith on the East side, 
after \\^illiam Penfield. and was probably the 
fourth in the village. About 1842 Air. Worth- 
ington formed a partnership with Hosea D. 
Searles, and opened a drug store. This was the 
founding of the business now carried on by 
Worthington & Slade. 

Laomi Peake, Sr., a native of Herkimer county, 
New York, emigrated from St. Thomas, Upper 
Canada, to Rockford, in September, 1839. He 
was one of the few pioneers who brought ready 
capital. He came with about five thousand dol- 
lars in money, which was a princely sum for that 
time. Mr. Peake was the first person who made 
a harness in Rockford, although a man preceded 
him who did repairing. Mr. Peake purchased the 
northeast corner lot on First and State streets, 
and erected a brick building, twenty-two by thirty- 
five feet, with two sto-ries and a basement, at a 
cost of fifteen hundred dollars. The corner of 
this lot is now occupied by J. H. Keeling's drug 
store. In 1852 he completed a second brick block 
on the same site, and finished a hall on the third 
floor, at a total expense of about eight thousand 
dollars. Peake"s hall was the first public hall in 
Rockford. This block was destroyed by fire in 
November, 1857, and the side and rear walls were 
left standing. The corner store was occupied at 
the time by C. A. Huntington and Robert Barnes, 
as a book store, at a rental of four hundred and 
fifty dollars per year. Elisha A. Kirk and An- 
thony Haines purchased the property in the 
autumn of 1858, and rebuilt the block the fol- 
lowing year. In 1856 Mr. Peake built the sub- 
stantial stone house on East State street owned 
by the late Anthony Haines. Mr. Peake died 
November 8, 1 89 1, at the age of eighty- four years. 

W'illiam Hulin was a native of Salem, Mas- 
sachusetts. He settled in Rockton township in 
1837 or '38. August 5, 1839, he was chosen a 
justice of the peace, and from that time he was 
continually in the public service. He resigned 
from the office of clerk of the county court a few 
davs before his death, which occurred December 
10. 1869. 

Daniel Barnum was a native of New York, 
born in 1778. In 1838 Mr. Barnum, with his 
wife and six children, came to Winnebago county, 
and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of 
land in Cherry Valley township. Mr. Barnum 



removed to Rock ford and spent his last days in 
retirement. He died November 8, 1870, at the 
ape of ninety-two years. 

Harris P>arnnm. son of Daniel Barnum. was 
born in Danbury, Connecticut, September 8, 1819. 
He came with his father to Rockford in 1838. 
His early manhood was spent on his father's farm. 
In 1 866 he eiifjaged in the shoe business in Rock- 
ford with the late Daniel Miller, but soon sold 
his interest. In 1874 Mr. P>arnum was one of 
tne organizers of the I'orest City Insurance Com- 
pany, of which he served as treasurer until in- 
capacitated by illness. Mr. P.anunn held the 
offices of alderman and suiiervisor. He died 
February 26, i8(/), in his eii,dnieth year. 

Hon. Horace Miller was a native of P>erkshire 
county, Massachusetts, and was born in 1798. lie 
came to this county m 1839, and settled on a large 
tract of land near the mouth of the Kishwaukce 
river, which in an early day was known as the 
Terrace farm. At one time he owned twelve 
hundred and fifty acres. I'-rom 1850 to 1852 Mr. 
Miller rei)resented this county in the state legis- 
lature. He resided on his farm until about 1861. 
when lie came to Rockford and lived a retired 
life until his death, .August 5, 1864. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jolm Benjamin came from 
Canada in 1839, and settled in Guilford town- 
ship. Mr. Benjamin's steii-daughtcr, Mrs. Sarah 
.\. Cook, who still resides in East Rockford, has 
the ilistinction of being the first matron of Rock- 
ford seminary. She served in this capacity from 
1849 to 1852. The students were served with 
meals in a frame structure directly opjjosite the 
first seminary building, on the east side of North 
F'irst street. 

.\31inng the other ])ioneers of 1838 were : Alfred 
P. Mather. William Hamilton. Levi Monroe, and 
Richard .Marsh. In 1839 there came Courtland 
Mandeville, Frederick Charlie, Thaddeus Davis, 
Sr., Stephen Crilley, D. Bierer. Chester Hitch- 
cock, John I5ull. M. Hudson. Others who came 
previous to 1840 were: Sylvester Scott, James 
Gilbert, .\rtcmas Hitchcock, John \V. Dyer, 
Samuel C. Fuller, Newton Crawford, Jonathan 
Hitchcock, Dr. D. Cioodrich. Ilotlis II. Holmes. 
Stephen Gilbert, and Bela .Shaw. Judge Shaw 
died suddenly May 31, 1865. Five brothers. 
Thomas, William, John, Robert and Benjamin 
(iarrett, with their parents, settled in Guilford 
township. Thomas died January 20, 1900. He 
was a Manxman, born on the Isle of ^Ian, Feb- 
ruary II, 1827. 


One of the greatest privations of the early 
settlers was the scarcity of provisions, which at 
that time were obtained from the older settle- 
ments in the southern portion of the state. Tlie 

l)ioncers possessed limitetl means, and few were 
individually able to bear the expense of a journey 
of such distance. Several neighbors would unite 
their small sums, and send one of their number 
for supplies. The difficulties of travel were 
great ; there were rivers to cross, either forded or 
swam ; streams and sloughs to be waded ; muddy 
roads and ponderous wagons. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the time of the messenger's return 
was uncertain. Later, when a trade in provisions 
had been established, the .same obstacles kept them 
at almost fabulous prices, and the settlers w"ere 
sometimes reduced to the verge of absolute desti- 
tution. I'lour sold from sixteen to twenty dol- 
lars per barrel, and on one occasion Thomas Lake 
purchased three barrels at twenty-two dollars 
each. Pork was thirty dollars per barrel ; wdieat 
sold from three to four dollars per bushel ; New 
Orleans sugar twenty-five cents per pound : and 
other provisions in pro])ortion. This condition 
rendered it ini|iossible for the great majority of 
the settlers, with their scanty means, to scarcely 
procure the necessities for their support. For six 
weeks in the winter of 1837-38 there was a to- 
bacco famine, wliich was a terrible privation to 
the slaves of the filthy weed. "Judge" E. S. 
Blackstone said the people in the early forties 
were too poor to cast a shadow. Mr. Thurston 
ventures the assertion that in 1841-42 there were 
not twenty fanners in the county who possessed 
a suit of clothes suita1)le to wear at church or at 
court, which they had purchased with the fruits 
of their labor on their farms. Some who had 
passed the prime of life became discouraged and 
returned to their homes in the east to die. Barter 
was practiced even in i)ayment for performing 
the marriage ceremony. Abraham I. Enoch, a 
justice of the peace, once took a bushel of beans 
as his fee. Joel B. Potter, a clergyman, was com- 
pensated for two ceremonies in wheat, and one 
day's breaking. Ephraim Stunner swam Peca- 
tonica river twice one cold night to perform the 
rite and received fifty cents. 

Had it not been for a beneficent Providence, 
who stocked the woods and prairies with game 
and the rivers with fish, many would have suf- 
fered for the necessities of the barest subsistence. 
As late as 1841 the scarcity of fruit was a great 
trial. There was little, and often none, not even 
canned fruit. There were dried apples, and the 
housewives made "mince-pies" of them. Some- 
times, in case of sickness, the ways and means 
looked rather dark, and the mother and her whole 
familv might be involved. In such cases none 
filled a more important place than Miss Betsy 
Weldon. whom a few will remember. Strong and 
well herself, she could fill a place of nurse, house- 
keeper, dressmaker, milliner, and general repairer 
of clothing. She was ever ready to respond to 
cases of need. 





In April, 1838, there were only fonr houses 
north of State street, in West Rockford ; the 
ferry house on the site of the Register-Gazette 
building ; Abriam Morgan's log house, on or very 
near the site of the Horsman residence, which 
was recently torn down : a log cabin on the bank 
of the river, about one hundred and thirty rods 
above State, occupied by Rev. John ]\Iorrill. and 
D. A. Spaulding, the government surveyor ; a 
board and plank house near the site of Mrs. A. 
D. Forbes' residence, occupied by John and 
Calvin Haskell, nephews of Dr. George Haskell. 
South of State street there were quite a number 
of cabins. Nathaniel Loomis and his son, Henry 
W. Loomis. lived in a log house near the south- 
east corner of State and Main streets : and much 
of the valuable property in this block still belongs 
to the Loomis estate. On the west side of Main, 
D. D. Ailing had an unfinished house. Directly 
north was a two-story frame house which re- 
mained unfinished for several years. On the same 
side, opposite the government building, still 
stands the residence of George W. Brinckerhoflf. 
On the corner north of the Chicago & Northwest- 
ern depot. Nathaniel Wilder had a house of one 
and a half story. On the east side of Main, op- 
posite the depot, Wyman & Houghton had a story- 
and-a-half building used as a bakery and boarding- 
house. South of the C, B. & O. depot, on the 
west side of Main, James Mitchell had a small 
house. On the same side of the street, near the 
bank of the creek, stood Mr. Kent's house and 
sawmill. There was a log hut eight or ten rods 
below the mill that had been used as a black- 
smith's shop, and a store near the river. \\'il- 
liam E. Dunbar had lived in a log cabin about 
one hundred yards south of the creek, and twelve 
to fifteen rods east of Main street. Sanford & 
Piatt's store was on the river bank, south of 
State. Benjamin Kilburn had a frame house on 
the site of the Hotel Nelson. There was a total 
of eighteen buildings in the village on the west 
side of the river, beside the cabin built by I\Ir. 
Blake in the grove to the west. 

The East side was somewhat larger. The 
Rockford House was for some time the only 
hotel between Belvidere and Freeport. On the 
southwest corner of State and Madison streets 
stood Bundy & Goodhue's store. Directly south 
was a building erected by Mr. Haight. The first 
floor was the postoffice. and the second was oc- 
cupied by Tinker & Johnson as a tailor shop. On 
the northwest corner of ]\Iadison and Walnut was 
a ball alley owned by Charles Oliver. On the 
southeast corner of State and Madison was Pot- 
ter & Preston's store. They succeeded Bundy & 
Goodhue on the opposite corner, where they re- 

mained until the death of ]\Ir. Preston, when Mr. 
Potter continued the business alone for a time. 
East of Potter & Preston's first store was the 
foundation of the Washington House. On the 
northeast corner of State and Main was Daniel 
S. Haight's unfinished frame house. On East 
State street Mr. Haight was putting up a one- 
story building for a postoffice. which a few A-ears 
later was occupied by Worthington & Searles as 
the second drug store in the village. East of 
the postoffice site, on the alley, was 'Sir. Haight's 
first log house, occupied by John !\Iiller as a 
boarding house. East of the alley, on State, was 
.Samuel Little's saloon. C)n North First street 
was a story-and-a-half house occupied by 
Samuel Corey, a brother-in-law of Mr. Haight. 
North of Mr. Haight's frame house was a story- 
and-a-half house owned by William Hamilton ; 
and at the northeast corner of Madison and 
Alarket was William Penfield's blacksmith's shop. 
Between the "swell-front'' and the brick house 
south of South Second street owned by Samuel 
I. Church, stood a house with a story and a half 
owned by Dr. David Goodrich. In the rear of 
this, on the alley, was a log structure occupied as 
a schoolhouse about 1837-38. On the site of the 
street car barns on Kishwaukee street, was Anson 
Barnum's double log house. At the southeast 
corner of Second and Walnut was John Phelps' 
house, afterward owned by William P. Dennis. 
C)n the west side of First street, opposite the city 
hall, was John C. Kemble's house ; and on the 
river bank, north of Walnut, James Clark was 
building a store in which he kept a general stock. 
The "stage barn" built for Mr. Haight in 1836 
by Thomas Lake and Sidney Twogood, stood 
near the intersection of State and Third streets. 
John X'ance's log structure, built for a store, 
was on South First street nearly opposite the 
city hall. There was a log house about ten rods 
southeast of the "stage bam," occupied b)' a Mr. 
Kingsle}-, who came from Belvidere to work for 
Mr. Haight on the Rockford House. James Bos- 
well's cabin was near the Peacock estate. Jacob 
Posson's cabin was in the vicinity of block 
twenty-one. Gregory & Penfield's addition. 
These, with the East side ferry house, and a small 
log hut used for a stable, were all the buildings 
within half a mile of the intersection of State and 
Madison streets, on the east side of the river, in 
April, 1838. Mr. Haight erected at least seven 
buildings on the East side, beside three barns, 
and one-half of the Rockford House. In 1839-40 
he built the large two-story brick house, east of 
Longwood street, which is still standing. Mr. 
Haight claimed that one hundred thousand brick 
were used in its construction. 

In the spring and summer of 1838 Harvey H. 
Silsby, Mowry Brown, William Hull and Wil- 
liam Harvev built the house now standing north 


of Mrs. W. A. Uickcrman's rcsitlcncc. for Dr. 
Haskell, who afterward sold it to John F.dwards. 

After finishins Dr. Haskell's hrick block. Mr. 
Silshy and .\h>wr_v llrown built a house for G. 
A. Sanford near tlie center of the block, south 
of Porter's druji store, on Main street. This 
house later stood for many years near the Chest- 
nut street bridjjc. lienjaniin Kilburn built his 
house near the Trask brid<je road that season. 
The rear r>f the I'.eattie house was built the same 

Mr. Silsby rendered ,i;reat service to the writer 
in locating^ these buildin,i,'s of the early days. His 
trade, that of contractor and builder, doubtless 
fi.xed the dates of their erection in his mind. X'o 
other individual furnished a more valuable fund 
of information in the preparation of this work. 
He knew the villasje from the besinnin.s:. and he 
retained his excellent memory unim]iaired to 
the last. Mr. Silsby died suddenly April 7. 1899, 
in Kansas, after havin.i^ sjjent the winter with his 
dauf^hter in Rock ford. Me was ei,!;hty-one years 
of afjc. Mr. Silsby was bom in .\cworth, Sul- 
livan county, Xew Hampshire, Xovember i, 181 7. 
He went in 1837 to Upper Alton, where he re- 
mained until he came to Rockford the following 
year. .Vfter working at his trade for some years, 
he embarked in mercantile business. 


The First Baptist church is the second or- 
ganization of that faith planted in northern 
Illinois outside of Chicago. It was organized 
December 22. 1838, at the home of Dr. George 
Haskell, and was the third religious organiza- 
tion founded in Rockford. There were sixteen 
charter niemlx-rs. as follows : James and Martha 
Jackson, .\biram Morgan, Fierce and Evelina 
Wood, John and Susan Emerson. Win. B. Brain- 
ard. Ransom and Lucy Knajip, George and 
Eunice Haskell, Mowry and Lucy Brown, Isaiah 
Lvon. an<l Caleb Blood. Services were held in 
a hall on the second floor of Dr. Haskell's brick 
block, which stood rm the site of the .-\shton block. 
The congregation de()eniled u])on supplies until 
May, 1 84 1, when Rev. Solomon Knapp became 
the first resident pastor. The first house of 
worship was built in 1841, on the corner now 
occupied by the .American Insurance building, 
on Xorth Main street. 

The second pastor was Rev. Warren F. Par- 
rish, a convert from Mormonism to the Baptist 
faith. He was succeeded by Rev. O. H. Head 
and Rev. Luther Stone, and by Prof. Whitman, 
of IV'lvidere, as a stated supply. 

In the autumn of 1848 Elder Jacob Knapp 
removed from the east, and November i8th he 
united with the church by letter. The 
church was then without a pastor, and arrange- 

ments were soon made with Elder Knapi) lor 
holding revival meetings. The little frame build- 
ing was too small, and the church secured the 
use of the court house, where it continued to 
hold services until the new structure was com- 
pleted. Elder Knajip continued his labors until 
June, 1849. .Vt the amnial session of the Rock 
River Association, held that mouth, the church 
reported sixty-two additions by baptism and 
seventeen by letter. These accessions increased 
the membership to one hundred and sixty. 

Elder Knap]) was one of the most remarkable 
men of his time. He was born in ( )tsego county, 
Xew York. December 7, I7<;9. He was gradu- 
ated at Hamilton Theological seminary in June, 
1825. and ordained in the following August at 
.Springfield, Xew York. After serving the 
church at Springfield for five years, and the 
church at Watertown for three years, he began 
his career as an evangelist. For fifteen years his 
home was at Hamilton. Xew York, and for 
twenty-five years at Rockford. 

Elder Kna])p claimed to have ])rcache(l about 
sixteen thousand sermons, baptized four thou- 
sand candidates, and was the means of making 
one hundred thousand converts by his revival 
ministry, of whom two hundred became ministers 
of the gospel. Elder Knapp's mind was char- 
acterized by strong logical tendencies, and his 
sermons abounded in homely illustrations, apt 
quotations from the Bible, and a good knowledge 
of human nature. In stature l-"lder Knapp was 
short, squarely and stoutly built, his voice was 
deeply sepulchral, and his manner self-possessed. 
He was fertile in expedients and possessed an in- 
domitable will. He was quick at repartee, in 
which he was a consummate master. 

To this day the widest differences of opinion 
])revailed as to the sincerity and true Christian 
character of Elder Knapp. Many of his fellow 
citizens believed his daily life was quite incon- 
sistent with the nigher ideals which he taught 
from the jjulpil : while others considered him the 
very incarnation of godly zeal ; as a veritable John 
the Baptist, warning the i)eo])le in terms of awful 
grandeiu- to flee from the wrath to come. Presi- 
dent Knott, of I'nion college, testified: "Elder 
Knapp is uncqualed among iminspired men." Dr. 
Thomas Armitage, in his History of the P>aptists, 
says : "The writer heard him preach many times, 
and judged him, as he is apt to judge men, more 
bv his prayers than his sermons, for he was a 
man of much prayer. His ai)i)earance in the 
pulpit was very striking, his face pale, his skin 
dark, his mouth wide, with a singular cast in 
one eve bordering on a squint : he was full of 
native wit, almost gestureless, and vehement in 
denunciation, yet so cool in his deliberation that 
with the greatest ease he gave every trying cir- 
cumstance its appropriate but unexpected turn," 



Elder Knapp died March 3, 1874, on his farm 
north of Rockford, and was buried in the West 
Side cemetery, with his feet toward the west, in 
accordance with his strange request. Elder 
Knapp's autobiography was published in 1868. 

Rev. Ichabod Clark succeeded Elder Knapp. 
During his pastorate, in 1850, the congregation 
built the present stone church on North Church 
street, which is now the oldest house of worship 
in Rockford. 

Dr. Clark was succeeded by Dr. Thomas Kerr, 
who began his labors June i, i860. His first 
pastorate closed November i, 1866, when he was 
called to Hannibal, Mo. After a brief pastorate 
by Rev. James Lick, Dr. Kerr was recalled to 
his old charge, and in 1869 he began his second 
pastorate. In 1870 Dr. Kerr began to preach a 
more liberal faith. An ecclesiastical council de- 
posed him from the Baptist ministry, and the 
church excluded him. with forty-eight sym- 
pathizers, from its membership. Dr. Kerr was 
succeeded in the pastorate by Revs. John S. 
Mabie, L. Anderson, W. A. Stanton. C. H. Mos- 
crip, Theo. G. Soares, C. W. Barber, and W. 
C. Keirstead. The membership reported to the 
association in June. 1905, was 287. The value of 
the church property is $18,000. 


Early in 1839 the little village aspired to the 
dignity of an incorporated town. The general 
law of 1831 provided that "whenever the white 
males over the age of twenty-one years, being 
residents of any town in this state, containing not 
less than one hundred and fifty inhabitants, shall 
wish to become incorporated for the better regu- 
lation of their internal police," it should be law- 
ful for them to do so. The ambition of the vil- 
lage was sustained by the required population. 

A meeting of the citizens of Rockford was 
held, pursuant to public notice, at the Rockford 
House. April i. 1839. It was resolved that the 
two villages of Rockford, east and west sides of 
Rock river, be incorporated into one town. Com- 
mittees were appointed to ascertain the number 
of inhabitants within the prescribed boundaries of 
Rockford ; to draft an act of incorporation for 
the town ; and to confer with Mr. Brinckerhoff 
concerning free ferriage for the citizens of the 

An adjourned meeting was held April 3d, but 
no business was transacted. A second adjourned 
meeting was held on the following evening. The 
committee on census reported that the number 
of inhabitants was two hundred and thirty-five. 
The committee appointed to confer with Mr. 
Brinckerhoff made a report to the effect that he 
would furnish free ferriage to the citizens of the 
county on condition that the trustees of the town 

would remunerate him, at the close of each year, 
with such sum as a committee of three should 
determine, after ascertaining the receipts and ex- 
penses of the ferriage. One member of the com- 
mittee was to be chosen by the trustees, another 
by Mr. Brinckerhoff and these two were to ap- 
point a third. At this meeting, by a two-thirds 
vote, as required by law, the town was incorpor- 
ated. An election for five trustees was lield 
April loth. There were chosen Dr. Goodhue, 
Daniel S. Haight, Samuel Little. Ephraim Wy- 
man and Isaiah Lyon. 

The statute provided that the boundaries of a 
town incorporated under its provisions should 
not exceed one mile square. The trustees re- 
stricted the limits as thus prescribed bv the law. 
They organized by the election of Daniel S. 
Haight. president: Anson Barnum, clerk; John 
C. Kemble, attorney. Isaiah Lyon was elected 
collector and treasurer ; Henry Thurston, asses- 
sor for the first district : John Haskell for the 
second ; Nathaniel Wilder for the third ; S. D. 
Preston for the fourth. 

Rockford continued its simple municipal life 
under this system until January, 1852. These 
vears were quite uneventful, so far as municipal 
affairs were concerned. The complete records of 
the proceedings of the board of trustees for those 
twelve years are contained in a single small 
volume. This book is well preserved and is in 
the office of the city clerk. Routine business oc- 
cupied the most exclusive attention of the board ; 
and frequently less than a page is required to 
record its proceedings. 


The lands in Winnebago county did not come 
into market until the autumn of 1839. The lands 
in Rockford and Rockton townships were not 
offered for sale until 1843. by reason of the 
famous "Polish claims." which will be considered 
in detail in subsequent paragraphs. The land 
office for this district in 1839 was at Galena. The 
opening of the lands to sale and entry in that year 
was an interesting event to the settlers of Win- 
nebago county. Some of them had their farms 
well under cultivation, and had raised a sufficient 
surplus, so that they were able to secure their 
farms when the sale began. The uniform gov- 
ernment price for land was ten shillings per acre. 
Speculators were always around the land office 
on days of sale, waiting for the first chance to 
make a claim. A common interest bound the set- 
tlers together, and they usually maintained their 
rights in equity against the sharp practices of the 
land sharks. 

Many settlers, however, did not possess ready 
money. Stock and grain had become plenty by 
this time, but thev could not be sold for cash. 



Money at one time cummaiuk'il thirty per cent. 
Some of the farmers liatl their claims bid in on 
sliares. I^inds wore hid in hy men who had 
money, on condition that tlieir advances sliould 
donl)le in three years — tliirty-tliree and one- 
tliird |)er cent, interest : the money loaner fur- 
nisheti the money, and gavv a bond to the claim- 
ant to redeem at the expiration of three years if 
the money sliould be paid on or before that dav. 
The moncy-loaner supposed his title was cjood, as 
it was entered in his own name, and paid for in 
full with his money. It was decided otherwise. 
however, by the supreme court, which treated it 
as a mortgage. There was nnich litigation on 
this point. 

K( >c K l-( IUI> CK.\I KTERI i;S. 

Four sites have been used in West Rockford 
for the pur|)ose of a cemetery, besides that used 
by the Roman Catholics. The first Inirial in the 
village of Rock-ford was that of Henry Harmon, 
who was drowned at the ferry in Rock river 
.\])ril 7, iS.^7. on block thirty-five of J. \V. 
I.eavitt's plat of the original town of West 
Rockford. The Commercial Hotel, South 
Church street, is on the southeast corner of this 
block. The second interment was of the body of 
Sarah Kent, a daughter of (iernianicus Kent, 
n]>iin the same block, in 1837. These were fol- 
lowed by the l)urials of .\ddison Phillips, who 
accidentally shot himself in March. 1839, and 
John Ha.skell, a brother of Dr. (ieorge Haskell, 
also in that year. Mrs. James Mitchell and some 
others were buried upon block thirty-five, which 
was the only place ot interment on the west side 
of the river until about 1840. The proprietors of 
that j)ortion of the town west of the section line 
<iividing sections twenty-two and twenty-three 
then gave to the citizens of West Rockford a plat 
of ground for cemetery purposes, corre.«])onding 
to block fifty-three in .Morgan and Horsman's 
addition to the city of Rockford. on the south 
side of Slate street. This block now includes the 
land owned by the late Dr. C. H. Richings. .Mrs. 
.Montague, wife of Richard Montague, was the 
first ])erson buried in this ground. She died 
February 17. 184J. 

I-'rom that time this ]ilat of ground continued 
to be the i)lace of burial until 1844. The original 
proprietors of the town, by an agreement with 
the citizens, exchanged this place of burial for 
a site corres|)onding to what would have been 
blocks thirty-seven and forty-eight of the original 
plat, on the north bank of Kent's creek. This 
tract corresponds witli the switch yards, round- 
house and stock yards of the Chicago & North- 
western railroad. The bodies were removed from 
the cemetery near State street and reburied in the 
new grounds. In the year 1844 the citizens after 
several meetings, organized an association and 

in I'"ebruary, 1845. they obtained a charter in- 
cori)orating the Rockford Cenieter\ .\ssociation. 
I'nder this charter they electeil their trusfecs and 
other otiicers. and kept u)) the organization in 
accordance with all the ])rovisions of the act. The 
first trustees named in tliis charter were John W. 
Taylor. Fphraim Wyman, Cyrus F. .Miller. Rich- 
artl .Montague ami IJenjamin Kilburn. 

From 1844 to 1852 this site remained the place 
of burial for the Rockford Cemetery .Association. 
1 )uring this time the number of graves had in- 
creased to about one lumdreil and seventy-five. 
The bodies that had been buried on block thirty- 
five remained there until 1852. 

The extension of the Galena & Chicago Union 
railroad to West Rockford again made it neces- 
sary for the association to remove its cemetery, 
as the grounds had been selected by the railroad 
comjiany as the site of its de])ot. .\ ])ortion of 
this tract was condemned by the comjianv for 
this i)urpose. The association thereupon made 
arrangements with the railroatl company for 
the sale of the entire property, except seventy 
feet fronting on Cedar street. The company paid 
the association one thousand and nine hundred 
dollars. The frontage of seventy feet on Cedar 
street was sub-divided into twelve lots, and sold 
to different jier.sons for three thousand eight 
hundred and twelve dollars and twelve cents. 

In .\]iril, 1852, the trustees took measures to 
l^rocure a new charter for their more extended 
needs. In the following May the association 
purchased of Charles Reed, George Ha'sTKcll and 
.\athaniel \\'ilder. a part of the present cemetery 
grounds. This tract contained thirty-three acres, 
for which the .Association ])aid twelve hundred 
dollars. On the 29th of .May, 1852. the associ- 
ation made a contract with David D. .Vlling. to 
remove all the bodies in the original place of 
burial on block thirty-five and those in the later 

At the s|)ecial session of the legislature in June, 
1852. the association obtained a new act of in- 
cori)oration. 'i'he sum realized from the sale of 
its former iirojierty left a good margin after the 
later ])urchase. (Juite extensive improvements 
were made with a i)ortion of this reserve. This 
cemetery is a beautiful spot in summer, well kept, 
and contains many splendid monuments. 

In February. 1880. the association purchased 
seventeen acres of D. C. Littlefield. The cemetery 
now covers fifty acres, the purchase price of 
which was oidy $2.()oo. There have been more 
than five th<iusanil interments. The association 
has an invested fund, the interest of which is ex- 
pended in Ix^autifying this city of the dead. 

The Roman Catholic cemetery is also located 
on the West side. 

:\t an early date Daniel .S. Haight appropri- 
ated an acre of ground for a cemetery on the 



East side. It was situated on the east side of 
Longworth street, about ten rods north of State. 
The ground was open prairie. There was no 
shade from the summer sun, and the wintr}- 
winds intensified its desolation. 

An act approved February i8. 1847, provided 
for the incorporation of the Cedar Bhtff Ceme- 
tery Association. E. H. Potter. \\'inard Wheeler, 
Bela Show, Selden AI. Church, HoUis H. Holmes, 
and Lucius Clark and their successors were made 
a body politic and corporate for the purpose. The 
association was not fully organized, however, 
until November 28, 185 1. Twelve acres in sec- 
tion twenty-three were purchased from Bela 
Shaw for four hundred dollars, subject to the 
dower of Rebecca Shaw. The tract was sur- 
veyed by Duncan Ferguson. April 3, 1853. It 
remained the only burying ground on the East 
side until the organization of the Scandinavian 
Cemetery Association, which is near Cedar BluflF. 


The attempt in 1836 to locate the county seat 
had proven a failure. The county business had 
been transacted in the meantime in various places 
in the village. The proprietors of Winnebago 
did not consider the refusal of their deed of ces- 
sion to the county, noted in a previous paragraph, 
as a finality. On that very day began the famous 
controversy over the location of the county seat, 
which was continued for seven years with great 
soirit and not a little bitterness on all sides. The 
proprietors of Winnebago had expended con- 
siderable money in their town plat, and they were 
anxious to have the county buildings commenced 
at once, and thus settle the question. On the 
other hand, the county commissioners opposed 
the site of Winnebago, and placed every obstacle 
in the way of such location. A^arious proposi- 
tions were made by the proprietors during this 
and the succeeding year to induce the commis- 
sioners to take some action that would secure 
them in the location which had been previously 
made. All these overtures were either refused 
or evaded. The persistent refusal of the county 
commissioners led to state legislation. 

By an act of the general assembly, approved 
Alarch 2, 1839. the question was submitted to a 
popular vote. It was made the duty of the clerk 
of the county commissioners' court to give notice 
of an election to be held on the first Monday in 
May, 1839. The law provided that if it should 
appear that within one hundred of a majority of 
all the votes cast were in favor of the town of 
\Mnnebago. that town should remain the per- 
manent county seat. But if any other place, after 
the first election, should receive a majority there 
should be an election held on the first Mondav 

of each succeeding month, dropping off at each 
election, the place receiving the smallest number 
of votes, until some one place should receive a 
majority of all the votes polled. 

These provisions gave \\'innebago a decided 
advantage, but even then the town was unable 
to win the prize. At the election six aspirants 
received votes, as follows: Rockford, three hun- 
dred and twenty ; Winnebago, seventy-five ; Ros- 
coe, two : Willow Creek, five : Pecatonica, one : 
Scipio. one. Total vote cast, four hundred and 
four, of which Rockford had a majority over all 
of two hundred and thirty-six. 

The ])rospective village of \\'innebago reached 
the highest point of all its greatness on the day 
when its ambitious claims were rejected by the 
county commissioners' court. In April, 1844, 
many of the lots were sold by the sheriff' to 
satisfy delinquent taxes ; and in 1847 the plat was 
vacated by a special act of the legislature. 

In pursuance of the popular vote in favor of 
Rockford. the county commissioners, on June 
8, 1839, selected the public square on the east 
side of the river as the site for the courthouse. 
.\nson Barnum and Daniel S. Haight were au- 
thorized to accept stone and other building ma- 
terial. A large quantity of brick and lumber was 
contributed by the citizens. This material re- 
mained on the public square for a long time, be- 
cause the county had no money to continue the 
work. At a special session held June 17, the 
court selected the southeast corner of block nine 
as a site for a jail. This is the site now occu- 
pied by the Rockford Gas Light and Coke Com- 
pany. No jail, however, was built upon that 

At the session of September 28. 1841. a propo- 
sition was submitted to the commissioners' court 
to furnish a suitable jail and quarters for the 
county offices in West Rockford until permanent 
buildings could be constructed. This proposal 
was signed by Messrs. George Haskell. Charles 
I. Horsman, Abriam Alorgan. John W. Taylor, 
David .\lling. Nathaniel Loomis. Ephraim 
Wyman, Horatio Nelson. Derastus Harper 
and Isaiah Lyon. L^pon executing a bond in the 
penal sum of one thousand dollars this proposi- 
tion was accepted. December nth these gentle- 
men reported to the commissioners' court that the 
building for the county offices was ready for use 
and the same was accepted by the court. This 
was a frame structure on the southwest corner 
of Main and Chestnut streets, opposite the Hotel 
Nelson. This building was occupied by the court 
until the courthouse was built, and only a few 
\ears ago was torn down to make room for the 
block now occupied by Mead, Hallock & Ben- 
nett. The donors at this December session were 
given an extension of five months to complete the 
jail. This was a log structure about twelve feet 



square, with plank door, ami wiiulow barntl with 
iron set into the logs above and below. It stood 
east of the ])resent courthouse, in the .same block. 
Whenever a desperate character was confined 
therein it was necessary to station a j^uard. Pre- 
vious to the erection of this primitive prison the 
nearest jail was at (ialcna. When I. N. Cun- 
ninj^diam was sheriff he owned a substantially 
built house a short distance from town, and his 
brother William once prevented a prisoner from 
escai)ing at ni^fht by fastening one end of a 
chain to his ankle and the other to the ankle 
of the prisoner, and both were secured to the 
stronj^f puncheon tloor. The old lotj jail did its 
duty after a fashion until the brick jail was 

.•\ controversy concerning the precise 
meaniufi of the statute under which the election 
of May, 1839. had been held. That portion of 
the tliird section of the law enclosed in paren- 
thesis was ambiguous. The point at issue was 
whether the law actually authorized an election 
to select a seat of justice, or merely to decide the 
general fiuestion of removal. The question was 
before the connnissioners' court at its September 
session in 1841. Each commissioner held a dif- 
ferent opinion. May 10, 1842. the commission- 
ers" court requested the bar of the city to submit 
opinions in writing concerning the legal effect of 
the popular vote. Opinions were prepared by 
Anson S. Miller, Francis Burnap, Thomas D. 
Robertson, James M. Wight, and Jason Marsh. 
Mr. Miller's ojiinions were f|uite elaborate. The 
attv)rneys were unanimous in the o|)inion that the 
county seat had been changed from Winnebago 
to Rockford, in accordance with the evident in- 
tent of the law. At the session of July, 1842, 
the commissioners' court authorized the judges 
of election in the several precincts to take the 
sense of the voters at the .Vugust election on the 
question whether the county buildings should be 
l)ermaneiUly located in East or West Rockford. 
Several ])rccincts did not vote on the question ; 
but the general result was favorable to the West 
side, inasmuch as the temporary location of the 
county offices on that side had already given it 
a degree of prestige. The vote had no legal 
effect, however, because the law had given the 
commissioners' court full power in the premises. 
Piut it clid have a certain persuasive influence. 

In April, 1843, Daniel S. Ilaight, E. H. Potter, 
HoUis II. Mohnes, Laomi Peak. Daniel Howell 
and John A. Brown, of the East side submitted 
a proposition to the county commissioners to 
huild a courthouse and jail, to cost four thou- 
.sanrl dollars. This proposal was considered, but 
complications prevented its acceptance. In a 
few <lays. .\pril 22d, citizens of West Rockford 
made a similar proposition. On condition that 
the commissioners select the site on the West 

side, the citizens agreed to erect such buildings 
as the county commissioners should direct, and 
according to such ])lan and finish as the com- 
missioners should furnish for a courthouse, 
county offices and jail, the said buildings to be 
commenced before the first day of June next, and 
the jail to be finished before the first day of 
January, 1844, The remainder of the said build- 
ings was to be finished by the first day of No- 
vember, 1844. The donors were to perfect and 
convey to the county a good title to the land on 
which the said building should stand, to the 
amount of two and one-half acres. This propo- 
sition was signed by Messrs. George Haskell, 
Charles I. Horsman, H. W. Loomis, M. Burner, 
Charles Hall. Thomas D. Robertson, George W. 
Dewey, David D. Ailing, H. R. Maynard, Alden 
Thomas, S. Skinner, George 1 '.arrows, John 
F'isher, Derastus Harper, Daniel Dow. 

Nothing had been done on the I'-ast side toward 
erecting county huiklings with the material 
furnished, and the proposition from the west side 
citizens was accepted, with five conditions : These 
were: First, security must be given to the ac- 
ceptance of the commissioners or any two of 
them in term, time or vacation within twenty 
days ; second, that the security be a bond for 
twenty thousand dollars, and the buildings be 
worth not less than six thousand dollars ; third, 
that said bond \jc placed in the hands of the clerk 
of the court within three days from its accept- 
ance ; fourth, that the subscribers to the proposi- 
tion, or a majority of them, enter into a contract 
in writing within twenty days to erect the build- 
ings as offered in their proposition ; fifth, that 
the contract be placed in the hands of the clerk 
ot the court within three days from its approval. 
The commissioners ordered that block twenty- 
five in west Rockford be the site of the buildings. 
Thus closed a contest which had continued for 
seven years. 

The brick jail was completed and occupied 
Januarv i. 1844. The court house was finished 
in July of the same year and was accepted by the 
county commissioners. Derastus Harper and 
John Beattie were the architects. It was one 
story, about fifty-six feet long, thirty-five feet in 
width and seventeen feet high. The court room 
was fifty-four by thirty-three feet ; nine feet in 
the rear of the bench was partitioned off into 
jurv rooms. Two rows of sli]is made in the style 
of those erected in the churches, filled the room 
outside the bar, and accommodated three hundred 
persons. The entire edifice, including the pedi- 
ment, and four fluted columns in front, was built 
in the Grecian Doric order of architecture. The 
])ublic square, jail and courthouse were furnished 
i)v the citizens of West Rockford without the out- 
lav of a dollar by the county. The stone building 
in which the county records were kept was built in 



1851. All these buililin^s have lieeii removed 
from the square. 

The first term of court held in the new build- 
ing; was in August, 1844. The presiding judge 
was Thomas C. Brown; James Mitchell, clerk; 
G. A. Sanford, sheriflf. Many bright stars in 
the legal firmament of that day practiced in Win- 
nebago county. Belvidere, Freeport, Galena, and 
Chicago sent their best talent. The famous "Mat" 
Carpenter of Wisconsin came to Rockford on 
professional business half a century ago. 


Sixty years ago Winnebago county figured 
prominently in a movement of secession from 
Illinois for the purpose of annexation to Wis- 
consin. This agitation covered the entire period 
between the admission of Illinois in 1 818, and the 
admission of Wisconsin thirty years later. The 
storv forms one of the most interesting chapters 
in the history of the commonwealth. The move- 
ment was widespread, and the feeling at times 
was intense and even bitter. The village of 
Rockford played quite a part in this struggle. 
There was brought to light in this city in 1899 
a copy of the official proceedmgs of a mass meet- 
ing held in Rockford, July 6, 1840. This con- 
vention was composed of delegates from the 
northern fourteen counties of the state. Its pur- 
pose was secession from Illinois, and annexation 
to the proposed new state of Wisconsin. 

History has never fulh^ explained the causes of 
this movement. Tradition alone has interpreted 
its true animus. The apparent motive was a 
restoration of the boundary line as originally es- 
tablished between the two states that might be 
formed of the territory north of an east-and-west 
line running through the southerly bend of Lake 
Michigan. This line, it was claimed, had been 
arbitrarily and unfairly extended fifty miles 
north when Illinois became a state. 

The real reasons for this movement were two : 
First, the settlers in the northern and southern 
portions of the state had little or no interest in 
common. The northern portion was settled prin- 
cipally by people who had come from New Eng- 
land and New York. Thev were industrious, 
thrifty and progressive. They built towns and 
cities as by magic. The southern part of Illinois 
was settled by emigrants from the slave-holding 
states. They were generally poor, as the well- 
to-do people did not emigrate. In those days the 
poor man in the south was scarcely above the 
negro in the social scale. This class came into 
southern Illinois from slave-holding states to es- 
cape the limitations of their former poverty. Be- 
tween the people of the southern and the north- 
ern portions of the state was a great gulf fixed. 
Each misunderstood the other. The Illinois and 

Michigan canal was opposed by the people of 
southern Illinois for fear it would flood the state 
with Yankees. This conflict of interest and 
opinion was a continuation of the struggle be- 
tween the civilizations of Plymouth and James- 
town. The Puritan and the class distinctions of 
the cavalier had entered the western arena, where 
a few years later Lincoln and Douglas fought 
the historic battle of the century. 

The second reason for this sectional divorce- 
ment was the desire of the northern people to 
escape the burden of the enormous state debt, 
which had been created by the gigantic scheme 
of internal improvements. In 1840, during 
Governor Carlin's administration, the total debt 
of the state, principal and interest, was fourteen 
million si.x hundred and sixty-six thousand five 
hundred and si.xty-two dollars and forty-two 
cents. The treasury was bankrupt ; the revenue 
was insufficient : the people were not able to pay 
high taxes, and the state had borrowed itself out 
of credit. The state never repudiated its debt, 
but it simply could not pay it at that time. More- 
over, the state had little to show for this vast ex- 
penditure. Southern Illinois dominated the state, 
and the people in the sparselv settled northern 
counties were not responsible for the creation of 
the state debt. 

Such was the condition of affairs when the 
mass convention was held in Rockford in the 
summer of 1840. In order to more fully under- 
stand the historic situation at that time, it will 
be necessary to briefly refer to the document 
which gave a plausible pretext to the separatist 
movement. This was the ordinance for the 
government of the Northwest Territory, adopted 
in 1787. This ordinance provided for the 
division of this vast area for territorial purposes, 
which of course had no bearing upon the present 
matter. It further provided that not more than 
two states should be formed from the territory 
north of an east-and-west line running through 
the southerly bend of Lake Michigan. 

In 18 1 8 Illinois territory ])etitioned congress 
for admission into the union on an equality with 
the original states. The petition defined the 
northern boundary of the state in accordance with 
the provisions of the ordinance of 1787. When 
the petition came before congress, Nathaniel 
Pope was instructed by the committee to report 
a bill in pursuance of the petition. Before the 
bill became a law it was amended by the extension 
of the boundary line from the southerly bend of 
Lake ^Michigan to fortv-two degrees thirty 
minutes. Thus was added to Illinois a territory 
fifty miles from north to south, which now in- 
cludes the northern fourteen counties of the state. 
These important and radical changes were pro- 
posed and carried through both houses of con- 
gress by Mr. Pope, entirely on his own personal 



respoiisil)ility. Tlie territorial k'g:islatiire had not 
petitioned for tlicin. l)iit tlic jjrcat and lasting ad- 
vantage was so ap])arent that the action of Mr. 
Pope received the lUKiualified endorsement of the 

When Wisconsin hegan to as])ire to stateliood, 
it was ui)on the language of the or<linance of 
1787. above t|iioted. which was «leclareil a com- 
pact to remain forever unalterable, that our north- 
ern neighbor based her claim to the territory 
north of the original line. 

This <|uestion of boundary became an issue in 
local politics, and it was not until 184S. when 
Wisconsin became a state, that all hopu of the 
restoration of the original line was abandoned. 

In accordance with this wiilcspread movement, 
which is said to have Ix-gun at Galena, a mass 
meeting was held at the Rockford House, in 
Rockford, July 6, 1840. One hundred and twenty 
delegates, who re])resented the entire territory 
in dispute, were in attendance. 

.\ committee was instructed to report resolu- 
tions ileclaratory of the right of Wisconsin to 
the territory in dispute. The preamble declared 
that it was the general, if not the universal, belief 
of the residents of the tract of territory in dis- 
pute, that the same by right and by law is a part 
of the Territory of Wisconsin ; and that their 
interests would be advanced by the restoration of 
the original line, as defined b\- the ordinance of 

The resolution declared first, that it was the 
opinion of the meeting that the intention of the 
framers of the ordinance of 1787 for the govern- 
ment of the Xorthvvest Territory, was that if 
congress formed one or two states north of the 
cast-an<l-west line aliove mentioned, that the 
states south of the line .shoidd not extend north 
and beyond it : second, that congress, in thus 
extending the northern boundary of Illinois, 
transcended its power and violated the provisions 
of the ordinance. 

It was also resolved that if the governor of 
Wisconsin Territory should issue a ])roclamation 
for an election of delegates to a convention for 
the formation of a state government, under the 
resolutions relating to the southern boundary, ap- 
])roved January i.^ 1840, the citizens of the ter- 
ritory in dispute should elect delegates to the con- 
vention, according to the ratio fixed by the rcso- 

The sixtli resolution |)rovided that a central 
Cfunmittee of five be a])pointe<l to carrv iiUo ef- 
fect the resolutions of the convention, and to in- 
form the executive of Wisconsin of tlie status of 
public opinion. It was finally resolved that a 
copy of the proceedings of the convention should 
be signed by the president and secretary and for- 
warded to the governor of the Territory of Wis- 

Other boundary conventions were held in 
various parts of the district. A convention at 
Oregon City, January 22, 1842. adopted resolu- 
tions similar to those approved at Rockford 
eighteen months earlier. The delegates even 
went to the point of declaring that the ordinance 
of 1787 should not be changed without the con- 
sent of the ])eo|)le of the original states, and of 
the X'orthwest Territory. 

.\ meeting was held in (lalena. March 18, 1842, 
of whicli Charles S. Hemi^stead was i)resi(lcnt. 
Strong resolutions were adopted. One declared 
that the annexation of the district to Illinois was 
an unlawful, arbitrary ])rocecding, and a danger- 
ous precedent. 

In June. 1842, the commissioners' court of 
W'innebago county submitted this question to a 
popular vote of the county at the .August election. 
The returns were as follows : Eor annexation to 
Wisconsin, nine hundred and seventy-one ; op- 
posed to annexation, six. 

.\ meeting of the citizens of P.elvidere was 
held September 7, 1842, when it was decicled to 
call a special election for the fourth Monday in 
September, in pursuance of the recommendation 
contained in the proclamation of Governor Doty, 
of the Territory of Wisconsin. Such an elec- 
tion was held, with a result similar to that in 
\Mnnebago county. 

This prolonged agitation accomplished no re- 
sult. The movement suddenly lost its momentum 
and became a spent force. The essential jjrinciplc 
involved in the resolutions that were adopted at 
Oregon City was whether the congress of the 
United States under tlie constitution, had no 
))ower to amend a jirior act of confederated states. 
In view of the subse(|uent evolution of the federal 
idea, under the S])lendi<l leadershiji of Webster 
and Marsliall. it seems sunirising that such a 
preposterous claim should have been seriously 


The history of the l)onde<I indebtedness of the 
states begins with the ))eriod from i8_^o to 1840. 
.\t the beginning of that decade the aggregate 
debt of the several states amounted to only thir- 
teen million dollars. Then began an era of ex- 
travagance in which certain states made enormous 
cxjienditures for ititernal improvements, and for 
funiling their delits. negotiated large loans on 
long time. Within the twelve years succeeding 
1830 the aggregate debt of the states had arisen 
to more than two liun<lred millions, an increase 
of more tlian sixteen hundred |ier cent. 

Illinois narrowlv escajied tlie odium of rc|)udi- 
ation. .\t this critical period Thomas Eord be- 
came governor, t >n this jjfiint he says in his 
History of Illinois: "It is my solemn Ix^lief that 



when I came into office I had the power to make 
Illinois a repudiating state." After July, 1841, 
no effort was made to pay even the interest on the 
debt: and her bonds declined to fourteen cents 
on the dollar. Ford was elected governor in 
1842 : and his title to fame securely rests upon 
the fact that he stemmed the tide, so that the 
larger proportion of the debt was actually paid 
during his administration. 

Notwithstanding the fact that the citizens of 
\\'innebago county desired annexation to Wis- 
consin, in part by reason of this debt, there was 
no attempt made to repudiate the debt so long as 
they remained in the state. On the other hand, 
the citizens took an unequivocal position against 
such a ruinous policy. A call was issued for a 
meeting February 5. 1842, to consider the con- 
dition of the public credit. This call was signed 
by S. Al. Church, S. D. Preston, George S. Has- 
kell : Germanicus Kent, D. S. Haight, G. A. 
Sanford, Francis Burnap and others. It had 
been surmised that Illinois would refuse to pay 
its debt. This call was endorsed by a vigorous 
editorial in the Rockford Pilot, which closed 
with these words : "As this is a question of vital 
consideration to every citizen, we trust tliat a full 
attendance will be had on that occasion — that by 
your presence and your voices you may show to 
the world your opinion in regard to these sur- 
mises. Think not that your individual credit is 
independent of that of your state and nation. All 
power and all public acts emanate directly from 
the people, who are the sovereigns of the re- 
public ; and whatever honor or shame falls to 
your state, must be shared among you." The 
citizens" meeting was in sympathy with this edi- 
torial comment ; and the moral influence of Win- 
nebago county was thus placed on record against 
a repudiating policy that would have brought 
the state into everlasting disgrace. 


Orrin Miller came to Rockford in 1843 ''nd 
engaged in the practice of law. He was a bril- 
liant and able attorney. Mr. Miller married a 
daughter of AMllard \\Tieeler. About 1871 he 
removed to the Pacific coast. His death oc- 
curred at Pomona, near Los Angeles, in Febru- 
ary, i8gi. He was about seventy years of age. 
His remains were brought to Rockford for inter- 

Another early lawyer of the village was Grant 
B. Udell. His name is occasionally found on old 
legal documents : but he seems not to have been 
generally remembered. 

Anson S. Miller was a prominent lawyer and 
politician half a century ago. He was elected 
state senator in 1846, was postmaster of Rock- 
ford under appointment of President Lincoln, 

and probate judge from 1857 to 1865. Judge 
Aliller was one of the presidential electors in 
1864, and was chosen by the electoral college to 
carry the vote of Illinois to Washington. Judge 
Aliller died January 7, 1891, at Santa Cruz, Cali- 
fornia. For twenty years preceding his death he 
had resided in California. Judge Miller was 
eighty-two years of age. 

Cyrus F. Miller, a brother 'of Judge Miller, was 
born near Rome. New York. He came to Win- 
nebago county in 1839 or '40 and was for many 
years a well known member of the local bar, and 
justice of the peace. Mr. Miller removed to Chi- 
cago in 1871, directly after the great fire. He 
practiced law in that city until 1876. when he re- 
turned to Rockford. His death occurred June 4. 
i8qo, at Beatrice, Nebraska, and his remains 
were brought to Rockford for burial. 

Daniel Dow came to Rockford in 1841, and 
opened a boot and shoe store, and later he car- 
ried a general stock of merchandise. He pur- 
chased goods at St. Louis, and his first trip to 
that city was made by team to Galena ; thence by 
the Mississippi to his destination. Mr. Dow con- 
tinued in business until i85(). when he retired 
and traveled extensively. Upon his return to 
Rockford he began dealing in grain. Mr. Dow 
served the Third ward as alderman for six years. 
He died November 8, 1903. 

Lewis B. Gregory is a native of Seneca county, 
New York. He was born in 1820, of New Eng- 
land ancestry. His father was Rev. Harry 
Gregory, a Methodist minister. Mr. Gregorv ac- 
quired a seminary education. He came to Rock- 
ford in 1843, '1"'^' began teaching the same year. 
Mr. Gregory is probably the oldest living teacher 
in the county. After teaching several terms, he 
became interested in business on the old water- 
power on the east side of the river. He was a 
nephew of Samuel and Eliphalet Gregory, set- 
tlers of 1835. 

George Tullock was a well known citizen of 
Scottish birth. He was born in 181 5. and came 
to Rockford in 1841. At Chicago Mr. Tullock 
hired his passage with a teamster : but the roads 
were so bad that he started ahead on foot, and 
arrived in Rockford three days ahead of the 
team. Mr. Tullock was employed by Daniel Dow 
nearly four years as a shoemaker. He then 
became a farmer. 


As early as August, 1840. a committee was ap- 
pointed to draft a constitution and by-laws for 
the Winnebago County Agricultural Society. 
This connnittee deferred its report until the next 
Alarch term of the county commissioners' court, 
in order to avail itself of the privilege of organiz- 
ing the society under the statute "to incorporate 



agricultural societies," which was passed March 
28, 1830- The act re(|uirecl the county commis- 
sioners to jjive due notice of the intention to form 
such society at that s])ecial term only, and pre- 
cluded a lej^ai or^^fanization in this county at an 
earlier tlate, under the provisions of the statute. 

The Ajiricidtural .Society was orfjanized 
A])ril 13, 1 84 1. Dr. Haskell was elected presi- 
dent ; Robert J. Cross, vice-president ; George W. 
Lee, secretary; Cliarles I. Ilorsman, treasurer; 
Horace Miller, Richard Montajjue. I'. M. John- 
son, James S. Xorton, Xewton Crawford. I. X'. 
Cunningham. Jonathan W'eldon. directors. An 
adjourned meeting was held July stli. .Septem- 
ber 8th a meeting of the officers was held to com- 
plete arrangements for the first cattle show. Tt 
was <Iecided that the fair should he held annually 
in Rockforil. alternating on the east and west 
sides of the river : that all the available funds of 
the society be distributed in premiums, and that 
the premiums be i)aiil in agricultural ])ublications. 

The e.xhibition was held on the 13th of October. 
The stock was exhibited in the grove near the 
northeast corner of I'irst and Oak streets which 
was known as the Oak Openings, where the 
ground was covered with a beautiful tuft. A 
few splendid specimens of the jiriniitive oak trees 
remain in the vicinity. Cattle and horses were 
tied to the trees ; the shee]) and hogs were con- 
fined in rail |)ens. The dis])lay of domestic ar- 
ticles and garden proiluce was made in the hall 
of the Rockford House. Charles I. Horsman cx- 
hil)ited a squash weighing one hundred and 
twenty-eight pounds. There were several loads 
of grain standing in the street in front of the 
Rockford House. 

-At two o'clock the society and visitors formed 
a procession, under direction of Jason Marsh. 
the marshal of the day. and marched to the court- 
house, on the East side. Rev. Joel B. Potter 
offered prayer, and Dr. Goodhue delivered an ad- 
dress. He was eloquent in his pro])]iecy of the 
future whicli awaited the farmers of this fertile 
valley, .\fter these exercises dinner was served 
at the Rockford House. .\t half past five the 
committee on awards made its report. The pre- 
mium list was brief. There were seven premiums 
offered for horses, six for cattle, four for hogs, 
and two for sheep ; one for the Ix^st cultivated 
ten acres of land, one for the best twenty-five 
])ounds of butter, one for the best cheese weighing 
over fifteen i)r)unds, one for the best ten yards of 
dannel manufactured in the comity, f)ne for the 
best fifty skeins of sewing silk manufactured in 
the county, and one for the best ten )ioimds of 
sugar manufactured in the county. Thus was 
held, in a single day. the first cattle show in north- 
trn Illinois. 

This society kept up its organization and an- 
nual exhibits for some vears, when it ceased to 

exist. In 185J another society was formed, out 
of which a larger organization was developed. 
The latter was organized under a general law, 
apjjroved in 1855. Until 1858 the society held 
its exhibitions on leased ground. In that year, 
twelve acres of land were purchased of C. I. 
Ilorsman, for six himdred dollars per acre. Later 
inirchases were made, which increased the 
grounds to twenty-two acres. 

llll-; liANIMI" 

Ol" rilK I-KO.NTIICR. 

The frontier is always the prey of the banditti. 
I-rom 1837 t<i 1845 the Rock river valley was in- 
fested with a notorious gang of outlaws, .\mong 
the leaders of this band were: John Driscoll, 
William and David Driscoll, his sons ; John 
llrodie, and his three sons, John. Stephen and 
Hugh ; Sanniel .\ikens, and his three .sons, Rich- 
ard. Charles and Thomas ; William K. I'ridge, 
Xorton U. Royce. Charles Oliver, and Charles 
West. liesides these chiefs of the robber con- 
federacy, there were a large number of subordi- 
nates scattered throughout the country. 

The leaders of this gang were among the first 
settlers, and thus had the choice of locations. 
John Driscoll came from ( )hio, and settled near 
Killbuck creek. Monroe townshij). Ogle county. 
William Driscoll settled at South Grove, in De- 
Kalb count V. David Driscoll resided a short 
distance east of the old village site of Lynnville, 
in (^gle county. John Pirodie lived in a grove of 
timber in Dement township. Samuel .\ikens and 
his son Charles and William K. Bridge settled in 
Washington Grove, and Thomas and Richard 
Aikens and Xorton P.. Royce at Lafayette Grove, 
scarcely half a mile distant. Charles Oliver set- 
tled at Rockford, and made his home at the 
Rockford House. He had a good address, and 
was given four thousand dollars by his father 
when he left the parental home. About 1837, 
while he was an miknown member of this band 
of oulaws, he came within a few votes of being 
elected a justice of the peace, over James B. 
Martyn. Charles West made his home at Inlet 
Grove, in Lee county. 

The operations of this hand extended through 
the western and northwestern states. Along the 
entire line there were convenient stations in 
charge of men who, to all ajipearance, were 
honest, hard-working settlers. Such was Wil- 
liam McDole. a quiet, industrious resident of 
Rockford. I'nder this arrangement, a horse 
stolen at either end of the line or elsewhere 
could be passed from one station to another, and 
no agent be absent from his home or business for 
more than a few hours at a time ; and thus for 
vears thev remained unsus]>ected. .\t that time 
few counties were sufficientlv organized to en- 
force efficient jiolice regulations. This section 



was sparsely settled ; the pioneers were poor, 
and money was scarce. There were few jails, 
and these were scarcely worthy of the name. For 
several vears after the settlement of Winnebago 
county, the nearest jail was at Galena. There is 
a story to the effect that the sheriff of this 
county once took a culprit to Galena, and upon 
his return to Rockford his late prisoner was 
among- the first to greet him. 

This primitive condition of society was the op- 
portunity of the border outlaw. Counterfeiting, 
horse-stealing, robbery and even murder were of 
such frequent occurrence that the settlers were 
driven to desperation. They resolved to adopt 
radical measures for relief ; for if these outrages 
were continued property was insecure, and hfe 
itself was in constant jeopardy. In the spring of 
1841. a delegation of reputable citizens of White 
Rock and Paine's Point, Ogle county, called upon 
Judge Ford, who was then holding circuit court 
at Oregon for consultation. Judge Ford was a 
fearless man, and naturally well equipped to meet 
the peculiar conditions of pioneer life. Judge 
Ford knew that the settlers were at the mercy of 
the banditti, and that it was useless to invoke the 
civil authorities. He therefore advised them to 
organize a company, which should call upon the 
men whom they knew to be lawless, take them 
bv force from their homes, strip them to the waist, 
and lash them with a blacksnakc. He recom- 
mended thirty-six lashes as the first chastise- 
ment, and sixty for a second ofifense ; and that 
the leaders should be given ten days in which to 
leave the country. 

Judge Ford's advice was followed to the let- 
ter. A decree from the bench could not have 
been more faithfully executed. In April about 
fifteen citizens met at a log schoolhouse at White 
Rock and organized a company known as the 
Ogle County Regulators. P>y-laws and rules 
were' adopted and the membership increased to 
hundreds in Ogle an<l Winnebago counties. The 
late Ralph Chancy was an active member of this 
organization : and to him the writer is indebted 
for information of those stirring experiences. 

John Earle was the first victim of this savage 
justice. It was proved that he had forced or in- 
duced a young man under twenty years of age to 
steal his neighbor's horse. Earle's coat and vest 
were removed, and his arms pinioned. Six or 
seven luen were chosen from the company to ad- 
minister five lashes apiece. Mr, Chancey relates 
that a deacon of the church inflicted the most 
vigorous strokes. The result was quite unex- 
pected. At the next meeting of the Regulators, 
Earle applied for membership, was admitted, and 
became a good worker. 

The second instance occurred in the afternoon 
of the same day. The culprit's name was Dag- 
gett. Before coming to the w'cst he had been a 

Baptist minister. He was not a shining example 
of the perseverance of the saints, a distinctive 
doctrine of that church ; for he had fallen from 
grace with a dull, sickening thud. The Regu- 
lators were not agreed concerning his punish- 
ment : although his guilt was generally believed. 
A bare majority of one or two voted to release 
him. That night, however, the minority tied 
Daggett to a tree and gave him ninety-six lashes. 
Dr." Hobart examined him occasionally to prevent 
fatal injurv. This chastisement was denounced 
by the more conservative Regulators. 

' Soon after their organization John Campbell 
was chosen captain of the Regulators. A short 
time after they had begun their work of ex- 
termination, Mr. Campl)ell received an epistle 
from William DriscoU, in which he offered bat- 
tle. The Regulators were challenged to meet 
him Tuesday, June 22d, at his home in South 
Grove. Mr. Campbell was generally recognized 
as the right man to lead such an organization. 
He was a devout Scotch Presbyterian, who had 
come from Canada. 

At the appointed time one hundred and ninety- 
six men, armed with rifles and muskets, re- 
sponded to the challenge. They were mounted 
on good horses ; with the stars and stripes un- 
furled to the breeze, and a bugle, they formed in 
line, two abreast, and began the march to the 
field of battle. When they arrived at South 
Grove they found seventeen members of the gang 
in a log house, barricaded for defense, armed 
with fifty-four guns of different kinds. The 
Regulators halted just outside of gunsliot and 
held a council of war. Before making an attack 
it was resolved to send a messenger to the house 
to ascertain the plans of the inmates, Osborn 
Chaney volunteered to beard the lions in their 
den. When within forty rods of the house the 
men broke through the door and ran away; and 
Mr. Qianey did not get an opportunity to speak 
with any one of them. Soon after Mr. Chaney 
returned to the company he was followed by a 
man named Bowman, who said he had a message 
from John Driscoll to the effect that if the Regu- 
lators wished to confer with him he would re- 
ceive the message from Bowman and from no 
one else. William Driscoll also sent word by the 
same messenger that he had three hundred allies 
at Svcamore, and that they would meet the Regu- 
lators on the prairie two hours later. The latter 
repaired to a level piece of ground, examined 
their guns, and waited developments. In due 
time Driscoll arrived, with the sheriff of De- 
Kalb county and two other officials, who wished 
to know the meaning of the demonstration. Cap- 
tain Campbell stood in a wagon, and in a vigor- 
ous speech gave them the desired information. 
Meanwhile Driscoll sat on his horse about four 
feet distant. He was silent, buKin a terrible rage. 



Mr. Chancy says he heard the tiratiiisj of his 
teeth, and l)eheves that then and there Cami)bell 
received his death sentence from Driscoll. Tlie 
officials from DeKalb county expressed their 
sympathy with the Ret^ulators. and the DriscoUs 
promised to leave the state within twenty days. 
The Re;julatf>rs disl)ande<l for the day and went 
home. Tile Driscolls did not keep their word. 
On the contrary, a meetinp of the des])cradoes 
was held on the followinjj Saturday ni,e:ht at 
the house of William I'.ridfjc. at Washington 
Grove, where the nuirder of Campbell was 

On Sunday. June 27th, David an<l Ta\lor Dris- 
coll. who had been chosen to murder Campbell, 
accomplished their purjiose. Mr. and Mrs. 
Cami)l)ell ha<l just returned from church at the 
log schoolhouse at White Rock. While .going 
trom the house to the barn about twilight, he was 
shot through the heart by David Driscoll. Ralph 
Qianey was luaking his home with his brother 
I'hineas about three-(|uarters of a mile distant. 
He heard the rejiort of the gun and the cries of 
the family. He and FMiineas immediately went 
to the assistance of the Cami)i)ell family. Mr. 
Campbell walked about forty feet and fell dead. 

Xews of the tragedy s])rea<l f|uickly to Rock- 
ford and other towns. Mrs. Campbell was a wit- 
ness of the murder, and there was no doubt about 
the identity of the assassins. On Monday the 
sheriff of ( )gle county and a ])osse arrested John 
Driscoll at the home of his son. David, near 
Lynnville. Mr. Chaney gives this incident of the 
arrest: "When he was arrested he said: "I al- 
ways calculate to hold myself in subjection to 
the laws of my country." .-\ daughter who was 
sto|>])ing there, a woman grown, large and strong, 
when the sheriff announced that he was a pris- 
oner, turned and faced her father, and their eyes 
met, and there was that kind of a look I can 
hardlv descriln?, passed between them, and as she 
held hi? eye she nodded her head to him. Xoth- 
ing said, but such a look I never saw in the 

The sheriff and his ])osse then went to South 
( Irove in search of William Driscoll. The elder 
Driscoll was seated in a wagon between two 
guards. .\ company from Winnebago . county 
had preceded them, and had arrested \\"illiam and 
his younger brother Pierce. The sheriff took his 
prisoner to TJregon and lodged him in jail. 

.-\bout nine o'cl<ick Tuesday morning a parly 
went to the jail, and with heavy timbers battered 
down tlie door. They to<ik John Driscoll from 
his cell, put a ro])e arfiund his neck and dragged 
him to the river as ra])idly as ])ossible. The 
sheriff |)ursued. Init l)efore he could overtake 
them they had entered a Imal with their jirisoner 
and were soon on the otiier side of the river. 
There they met a man from Washington Grove, 

who told them there was a ])arty at that place who 
had taken the two sons, William and Pierce. They 
then proceeded with John Driscoll to Washington 
Grove, where they met the Rockford division, 
liy this time, aboiu ten o'clock in the forenoon, 
the crowd had increased to about five hundred. 
Xearly every class of people was rejiresented. 
The horsemen dismounted, secured their horses, 
and stacked their arms around a tree. They 
formed a hollow stjuare around the tree, and 
brought the three Driscolls into the centre. 
.Among the lawyers jiresent was E. S. Leland, 
who acted as the leader, and conducted an ex- 
amination of the prisoners. A mob court was 
instituted. The senior Driscoll was asked how 
man\' horses he had stolen in his tiiue : to which 
he replied thai he supposed he had taken as many 
as fifty. "Could you not say a hundred?' asked 
an inc|uisitor : and the old man, with a faint 
smile, said: "It luight be." He confessed that he 
had ])aid young men fifteen to twenty-five dollars 
to steal a horse from a neighbor, simply to satisfy 
a grudge, when he received no pecuniary reward 
from the theft. William Driscoll was similarly 
interviewed. Pierce Driscoll was examined, but 
no evidence was found against him. and he was 
given his liberty. 

John and William Driscoll were then told that 
David and Taylor had been identified as the mur- 
derers of Campbell : also that evidence had 
])roved them to be accessories in the i)lot at 
1 'ridge's house on the preceding .Saturday even- 
ing. .\fter further deliberation. Mr. Iceland 
called for an e.\i)ression of oi)inion u])on the guilt 
of the i)risoners by the uplifted right hand. The 
decision was almost unaniiuous against them. 
The vote upon their jiunishment was equally de- 
cisive that they should be hung, then and tlicre ; 
and they were given one hour in which to pre- 
pare for death. The condemned men implored 
their executioners to change the method of death 
from hanging to shooting. This request was 
granted by a unanimous vote. The senior Dris- 
coll had stood in the meantime with the rope 
around his neck, and he asked Mr. Chaney to 
remove it. 

The arrangements for the execution occupied 
about an hour and a half. Jason, of 
Rockford, was ])resent, and pro|)osed to Charles 
Latimer, as an additional formality, to defend the 
])risoners. and |)re.sent their case before the mob 
court. .Mr. Marsh then made the opening pica 
for the prisoners. "And I nuist say." said Mr. 
Chaney. "he did himself credit, and full justice 
to the i)risoners in his sjieech. Latimer followed 
in Ix'half of the peoi)le. and made a very able 
speech." There were several ministers of the 
gospel on the scene, who spent the time allowed 
the prisoners in praying and conversation with 
them. It was an occasion of great solemnity. 



Righteous wrath was expressed in the resohite 
and orderly execution of mob justice. 

When the hour of execution arrived, about 
one hundred and twenty men were drawn up in 
line, in single file. This line was divided in the 
center. John Driscoll was led out by Captain 
Pitcher, in full view of his executioners. He 
was made to kneel ten paces in front of the west 
half of the line. His eyes were blindfolded, and 
his arms pinioned behind him. At the signal 
all the guns, save one, were fired in a single volley. 
John Driscoll fell forward on his face without a 
struggle or groan, or the apparent movement of 
a muscle. 

William Driscoll was then brought out and 
placed at the same distance before the center of 
the other half of the line. He was blindfolded, 
pinioned, and made to kneel upon the ground. 
As Judge Leland counted three, the volley of 
more than fifty guns was as the sound of one. 
William Driscoll was dead. The father and son 
fell about forty feet apart. A grave was dug be- 
tween them, about two and one-half feet deep, 
and four feet wide. The old man was first taken 
and placed in the grave, without coffin or shroud ; 
and then the son was laid by his side. Their 
caps were drawn over their faces, and thus they 
were buried, without the presence of a mourn- 
ing friend. Mr. Chaney assisted in carrying the 
elder Driscoll to the grave, and discovered that 
the bones of his head were literally broken to 
pieces, and the region of the heart perforated 
with bullets. In William Driscoll's vest front 
were found forty bullet-holes. After their execu- 
tion one of their guards stated that \Mlliam Dris- 
coll, in his prayer, confessed he had committed 
five murders and jjrayed to be forgiven. It is 
said that just before he was led out to die, Wil- 
liam called his brother Pierce and said : "They 
are going to kill me, and I want you to take that 
money of mine that is hid and give my children 
a liberal education, and spend it for their sup- 
port until they become men and women grown. 
There is plenty of it." Pierce expressed his wil- 
lingness to do so, but said: "I don't know where 
your money is ; you have never told me." Wil- 
liam tried to tell him, but exclaimed: "O my God! 
I can't do it."' 

A strange sequel occurred many vears later. 
The farm that had been owned by William Dris- 
coll became the property of a man named Byers. 
One day in autumn, while he was threshing, 
three men came on horseback and entered the 
grove west of the house. After surve}'ing the 
premises they located a spot and began digging. 
Byers ordered them to stop, but he was con- 
fronted by a revolver and an order to return 
and mind his own business. After their de- 
parture Byers went to the spot and found a hole 
which they had dug in the ground, and beside it 

a small empty box, and at the bottom of the hole 
the mark and place from which the box had 
been dug. No explanation -was ever found. A 
reward of five hundred dollars was ofifered in 
August, 1841, for the capture of David and 
Taylor Driscoll, by a committee of citizens of 
Ogle county. David Driscoll never returned. 
Taylor Driscoll was indicted for the murder of 
Campbell and kept in different jails nearly two 
}ears ; and by changes of venue and confusion 
of witnesses he was at length given his liberty. 

Throughout these strange proceedings the 
Regulators were sustained by the ablest lawyers 
and best citizens throughout the country. "Doc- 
tors and scholars, ministers and deacons" re- 
garded this terrible example of lynch law as a 
public necessity. 

Some months after the execution of the Dris- 
colls the matter was brought before the attention 
of the grand jurv in Ogle county. Judge Ford 
then resided at Oregon, and it is said this action 
was taken at his suggestion. At the September 
term of the circuit court, indictments were foimd 
against one hundred and twelve citizens. Among 
these were four Chancy brothers, Richard, 
I'hineas, Osborn and Ralph, three of whom be- 
came residents of Rockford : and Horace ]\Iiller, 
Jason Marsh and Charles Latimer, of Winne- 
bago county. The case was called for trial at 
the same term of court. Judge Ford presided, 
and Seth B. Farwell appeared for the people. 
Some of the jurors were under indictment for 
complicity in the affair. Several witnesses were 
called, and pleas made ; and without leaving their 
seats the jurv returned a verdict of "not guilty." 
No one expected a conviction, but it was con- 
sidered desirable to have the matter settled ac- 
cording to the regular form of law. Thus closed 
the trial of the largest number of defendants 
ever indicted under one charge at one session 
of a grand jury known to the judicial history of 
this section. 


The execution of the Driscolls was only the 
beginning of the work of extermination ; al- 
though it was the sole instance where such des- 
perate measures were considered necessary to ac- 
complish their purpose. Robberies and murders 
continued, and the people lived, for years under 
a literal reign of terror. 

September 19, 1843, the store of William i\Ic- 
Kenney, near the site of 318 East State street, in 
Rockford, was robbed of a trunk containing 
nearly twelve hundred dollars. Bradford Mc- 
Kenney, his brother, who slept in the store at the 
time, gives a vivid account of the robbery in Mr. 
Thurston's reminiscences. 

The narrative, in its use of adjectives and in- 



torjcctions, requires some revision in order to 
make it conform to the canons of good literary 
style. The rol)l)er. in liis hasty flight, left eight 
dollars in silver in the trunk. The next day 
several dollars were found at another place : and 
the ne.xt spring James (iilbert found sixty-two 
dollars only a few roils from where the trunk 
was rifled of its contents. .\ reward of two 
hundred dollars was otTered for tlie apprehension 
of the thief and the recovery of the money: but 
he was an ex]>ert. and eluded capture. 

The community was startled two weeks lati,'r 
by another bold depredatinn. Monday evening. 
( )ctober 2. one of the four-horse coaches belong- 
ing to I'riiik. Walker & Co. was robbed four 
miles from Rockford, while en route to Chicago. 
It is said the baggage of the ])assengers was 
stolen from the rear of the coach while in mo- 
tion, and that the fact was not discovered until 
its arrival in Xewburg. The next morning the 
trunks were found a few rods from tlic road, 
rhey had been broken open and all propertv of 
any value had been taken. .\ |)lan had been laid 
to secure a large amount of money which had 
been rieposited in the land office at Dixon, and 
this was the object which it was intended to ac- 
complish by the robbery of the stage coach at 
this time. It was known that a considerable sum 
of money, which had been received from the sales 
of ])ul)lic lands was on dep«xsit at Dixon and was 
about to be removed. .\ leader of the banditti 
liad asked the receiver when he intended to go 
to Chicago, where the dci^osit was to be made. 
The receiver was a prudent man, and his sus- 
picions were arou.sed. He therefore replied that 
he would leave Dixon one week later than he 
really intended to start : he thus baffled the plot 
of the robbers. The Rockford l'\)rum. in com- 
menting on this affair, said: "What renders these 
transactions still more exciting is that they arc 
performed by those who are ix-rfect scholars in 
the business movements of the town." Xo im- 
mediate clew to this robberv was obtained. 

In Xovember, 1844, William Mulford, resid- 
ing on his farm in Guilford, four and a half miles 
east of Rockff>rd, on the Cherry \'alley road, 
was robbed of five hundred dollars in money. 
It had been fal.sely rei)orted that .Mr. .Mulford 
hail received alKiut fourteen thousand dollars a 
short time before : and this rumor had reached 
the robbers. (X-tober 28th a man who gave the 
name of Haines called on Mr. Mulford and pro- 
fes.sed to be in search of employment. His real 
purjjose was to obtain money by other means 
than honest toil : and he had come to look over 
the premises. ( )n .'Saturday, Xovember <)tb. 
about eight o'clock in the evening, three masked 
men, armed with pistols, knives and clubs, 
forced an entrance into the house. The leader 
ordered Mr. Mulford to sit down. He then took 

the candle from the table, cut it into three pieces, 
lighted them, placed one in each of the two win- 
dows, and with the third he began his search of 
the house. With the most direful threats the 
family were forced to sul)mission. The keys to 
the bureau drawers were ilemanded. They were 
told that they were in the stable behind the 
horses. This was a ruse to give .Mr. .Midford 
an o]i])ortunity to reach his rifle in another i)art 
of the room. When the men went tt) the barn he 
attempted to reach the gun, but another man, 
who had been stationed at the door, held a ])istol 
close to his head and ordered him to desist, '("lie 
robbers could not find the keys in the barn, and 
returned in a rage to the house. They swore 
they would "chain the old devil," and set the 
house on fire, and by that time they would tell 
where the keys were. Mrs. Mulford imagined 
she heard the clanking of chains, and told the 
robbers where the key could be found. They 
unlocked the drawer and found the money in 
an envelojje, just as it had been taken from the 
bank. One of the gang was identified as Haines, 
who had called in search of emiiloyment. It 
was subsequently learned that two men, armed 
with rifles, stood outside, and for their benefit 
the candles were placed at the windows. 

.Xemesis was on the trail of the outlaws, and 
in due time she will summon a cloud of witnesses 
to bring them to justice. In the spring of 1845 
Charles West, of Lee county, was arrested for the 
robbery of a peddler named Miller, and a ])ortion 
of the goods was found in his ])ossession. West 
was committed to jail at Dixon, and during his 
confinement he jiroposed to turn state's evidence, 
and disclose all he knew concerning his con- 
federates. It was an instance where "the devil 
sick, the devil a monk would be." His 
proposition was acce])ted. and West made what 
he professed to be a full confession, and de- 
clared that Charles Oliver and William McDole. 
of Rockford, were members of the band. He 
al,so gave the names of the outlaws who com- 
mitted the robberies at McKenney's store and 
Mulford's farm-house. 

This startling intelligence soon reached Rock- 
ford and created great excitement. L'|)on the 
strength of West's statements Oliver and Mc- 
Dole were immediately arrested and an officer 
was dis])atched to bring West to Rockford to 
give his testimony at their examination. Oliver 
and McDole were given a hearing alxnit the 7th 
of June. West testified that he was at Oliver's 
house about a year before, when the plans of the 
gang were discussed in detail. .McDole and Sut- 
ton were also nresent at the same time. McDole 
and Oliver talked about a jial named Burch in 
connection with the McKenney robbery. McDole 
discovered where the money was kept, and P.urch 
entered at the window and obtained the bootv. 



In the proposed raid upon Mr. ]\Iulford, Oliver 
and AIcDoIe were to ascertain the situation of 
the house and Burch and one or two others were 
to get the money. 

Such, in brief, was the testimony given by 
West. His story was generally believed. Oliver 
and McDole were required to give bail in the 
sum of fifteen hundred dollars each, for their 
appearance at the next term of court : in default 
of which they were committed to prison. A few 
days later Bridge, one of the leaders of the 
banditti residing in Ogle county, was arrested 
and placed in jail at Rockford. A guard was 
necessary for some time for their protection. 

The trial of Oliver began in the circuit court 
August 26, 1845. His indictment was for re- 
ceiving money stolen from William Mulford, in 
November, 1844. Hon. Thomas C. Brown was 
the presiding judge. The jurors were: Giles 
Mabie, Calvin Haskell, J. Heath, Jr., George 
Dixon, Phineas Howes, Ezra C. Tracy, Asa 
Farnsworth, Asa Crosbv, Andrus Corbin, Harvey 

There was an unusual display of legal talent. 
The district attorney was James L. Loop. He 
was assisted bv Thomas D. Robertson, Jason 
JMarsh, James 'SI. ^^'ight, and Miller & Miller. 
Martin P. Sweet, of Freeport, and M. Y. John- 
son, of Galena, were the counsel for the defend- 
ant. Among the witnesses on the stand were : 
William Mulford, Charles H. Spafford. G. A. 
Sanford, D. Howell, E. S. Blackstone, William 
J. Mix, of Oregon, Charles West, of Lee, and 
S. C. Fuller, the jailer. The last named wit- 
ness testified that the prisoners tried to bribe 
him to furnish them with brace and bits so that 
they might effect their escape. Each offered Air. 
Fuller fifty dollars at first, and then increased the 
Sinn to five hundred. During the trial Oliver 
was defiant and confident of acquittal. But since 
his arrest retributive justice had been forging 
another chain of convicting evidence. 

During the summer Jason Alarsh had received 
a letter from the warden of the penitentiary at 
Jackson, Michigan, to the eft'ect that a prisoner 
in his charge knew about the robbery and was 
willing to testify. Mr. Marsh went to Michi- 
gan and foimd the prisoner to be Irving A. 
Stearns, who had fonnerlv resided in this county, 
and who had left the state soon after the rob- 
bery. He had been convicted of some crime in 
Michigan and sent to the penitentiary. Mr. 
Alarsh pretended not to recognize Stearns ; but 
told him that he wanted to know what he had 
to say upon the subject, and that he would know 
if he told the truth. Mr. Marsh found the 
testimony of the prisoner very important, and 
communicated the facts to the governor, who 
gave to Mr. Marsh a conditional pardon for 
Stearns. The prisoner's communications to Mr. 

Marsh, however, were made without any promise 
of consideration whatever. Mr. jMarsh returned 
to Rockford, and at the time for the court to 
convene, he sent for Stearns, and upon his ar- 
rival he was placed in close confinement until 
he was wanted in court. Oliver knew nothing 
of these facts. When the name of "Irving A. 
Stearns" was called as a witness for the people, 
Oliver was startled, and sat crestfallen by the 
side of his counsel. Courage and hope fled to- 
gether. Stearns testified that the secrets of the 
Mulford robbery had been given by Oliver, and 
that Oliver had offered him some of the stolen 
money in exchange for a horse. His evidence 
was straightforward, and a rigid examination 
failed to weaken it at any point. 

The case was given to the jury Saturday after- 
noon. The jury was out an hour and a half, 
when it returned with a verdict of guilty and a 
sentence of eight years' confinement in the peni- 
tentiary. Thus terminated the most exciting 
criminal case ever tried in Winnebago county. 
The case was managed with great abilitv on both 
sides. The argument of James Loop and the ex- 
ploit of Jason Alarsh have become familiar tra- 
ditions of the local bar of the olden time. 

Bridge took a change of venue on all his in- 
dictments to Ogle county. When his case was 
called he plead guilty, and was sentenced to the 
penitentiary for seven years. McDole's trial be- 
gan November 26, 1845, ^"d the case was given 
to the jury December ist. After an all-night's 
session the jury brought in a verdict of guilty, 
with a sentence of seven years in the penitentiary. 
The attornevs for the state were Marsh & 
Wright, :\Iifler & [Miller, and T. D. Robertson. 
McDole was defended bv John A. Holland, Grant 
B. Udell, of Rockford, and Martin P. Sweet, of 
Freeport. The court ordered that one month of 
the term of imprisonment be spent in solitary con- 

John Long, Aaron Long, and Granville Young 
were executed at Rock Island in October, 1845, 
for the murder of Colonel Davenport, which oc- 
curred July 4, 1845. This execution practically 
completed the work of extermination which had 
been begun by the Ogle County Regulators on 
Tuesday, June 2q, 1841. 

Burch was indicted for the murder of Colonel 
Davenport. He took a change of venue to an- 
other county, and made his escape from jail. The 
three Aikens brothers died as they had lived, 
although they escaped the penitentiary. Bliss, 
Dewey, and Sawyer, confederates in Lee county, 
were sent to the penitentiary. Bliss died in 
prison. The way of the transgressor is hard. 

The Prairie Bandits, written by Edward Bon- 
ney, is a stirring tale of those early days. Bon- 
ney was a newspaper man, who did some detective 
work. His book was first printed about fifty 



years ago. and there have heen several subse- 
quent editions. 

m:\v k.nclani) L-Nrr.\Ri.\xisM. — kiust church. 

A number of early settlers from New Eng- 
land were I'nitarians of the old school. An 
effort to organize this sentiment was made as 
earlv as 1841. The first meeting for this pur- 
pose was held Fel)ruary ,vl. .\ subscription list 
of this date was found among the papers of the 
late Francis llurnai). It contained pledges 
amounting to one hundred and sixty dollars for 
the sui)])ort of a Unitarian clergyman. At the 
same time a committee was appointed to promote 
their interest. An adjourned meeting was held 
on the 13th, at the West side schoolhouse, and 
an organization completed. 

There is no record of any progress during the 
ne.xt two years, and it may be concluded that 
there was only an occasional preaching service. 
Early in March, 1843. Rev. Joseph Harrington, 
of Chicago, came to Rock ford and preached every 
evening of one week on the distinctive doctrines 
of L'nitarianism. The meetings were well at- 
tended, and a new interest awakened. On the 
following Sundav. March gth. a church was or- 
ganized. The constituent members of the church 
were: Joseph Harringti>n. Sarah F. Dennis, 
Isaac X. Cunningham, Xancy G. Cunningham. 
James Cunningham, Sarah M. Cuiuiinghain. 
Samuel Cunningham, h'milv C. Cunningham, 
lohn Paul, R. P. Paul, W. D. Bradford. Callier- 
ine F. Goodhue. I'^ihraim W'ynian. James M. 
Wight. John K. Kendall. Susan Goodrich. 

In December. 1844. steps were taken to se- 
cure a place of worship. It was jiroposed to pur- 
chase the unfinishef! Universalist church, which 
had been abandoned. Several hundred dollars 
in subscri|)tions. conditional and otherwise, were 
raised, besides a sum for an organ. These sub- 
scription lists are still in existence. But the 
|)roject was not successful. .Another unsuccess- 
ful eflfort was made to build in i84fi. 

December i.v 1845. the I'nitarian society was 
organized at the liome of Ephraim Wyman. The 
trustees chosen were Ephraim Wxman, Thatcher 
l»lake, and Richard Montague. 

I'"or a niuuber of years little was done. The 
church had services whenever a traveling clergy- 
man was available. This condition continued 
imtil 1840. when Rev. H. .Snow volunteered to 
strengthen the waste places in this branch of 

The church hail hitherto held services in tlie 
courthouse : luit now they felt the need of an- 
other place. The frame building which had been 
u.setl by the First Piai)tist church was for sale. 
Tliis old e<lifice may well be called a church 
cradle. It successively rocked the Baptists, 

Episcopalians, Unitarians and Presb\-terians. It 
was an illustration of the coiumon origin of all 
believers who belonged to the true household of 
faith. At this time the I'nitarians owned a lot 
on the ncjrtheast corner of Church and Elm 
streets. They had received two hundred and 
fifty dollars from the American Unitarian As- 
sociation, and with this tliey purchased the old 
Baptist building, which they removed upon their 
lot. For alxiut a year Mr. Snow jireached two 
Sundays in the month, and the other Sundays 
at Pielvidere. ]\lr. Snow invited Rev. A. A. 
Livermore, who was then at Keene,. Xew Hamp- 
shire, to act the generous Christian part by 
presenting a communion service to the church. 
The ladies of Mr. Livermore's church comjilied 
with the request. 

Mr. Snow's health failed in the spring of 1830. 
and he was obliged to resign from his pastorate. 
He was succeeded by Rev. John M. \\'indsor. 

The church enjoyed a fair degree of jirosperity 
for several years. In 1853 it was proposed to 
build a more comfortable place of worship. A 
lot was purchased on the corner of Chestnut and 
Church streets, and generous subscriptions were 
secured. Mr. Windsor was sent east to solicit 
contributions from the Unitarians of Xew York 
and Massachusetts. He went to Xew York early 
in the spring of 1854 to collect the i)romised 
money, and never returned. Mr. Windsor was 
succeeded by Rev. John Murray, whose pastor- 
ate continued until March. 1857. 

The church was dedicated .\pril 18. 1855. 
I'riends came from Chicago. Geneva, and P>elvi- 
dere. Rev. Rush R. ShijiiJen, of Chicago, 
lireachecl the dedicatory sermon. On Sunday. 
Mav Otii. a Sunday-school was organized, with 
twenty-five scholars, with Rev. H. Snow as 

June 8, 1857, a call to the pastorate was sent 
to Rev. .Augustus H. Conant, of Geneva, Illinois. 
He accepted the call, at a salary of one thousand 
dollars, with certain ])rivileges of vacation for 
missionary work .""Sunday afternoons during a 
|)art of the year. Rev. Conant began his jiastoral 
work July 12, 1857. The congre,gation then num- 
bered about seventy. He inirchased a home of 
Mr. Cosper. on the corner of ( Ireen and West 

Mr. Conant enjoyed an extcndeci ])ersonal ac- 
(|uaintancc among distinguished rejiresentativcs 
of the Unitarian faith. an<l other cnntemporaries. 
.\mong these were William I-lllery (."banning, 
'nieodore Parker. James Freeman Clarke. Horace 
Greelev, O. B. Frothingham, Margaret Fuller, 
l-Ved Douglas, and Rolx-rt Collyer. Among Rev. 
Conant's guests at his Rockford home were Ral]>h 
Waldo Emerson. Prof. Youmans, Bayard Taylor, 
Tom Corwin, John Pierpont, and T. Starr King. 
Tames Freeman Clarke, in his .Vutobiograjihy. 



refers to Rev. Conant as a "saint and an apostle." 
The church prospered under Mr. Conant's min- 
istry for a time. He was a man of high ideals 
and noble enthusiasm, and was filled with the 
missionary spirit. But there came a serious de- 
clension in the financial and numerical strength 
of the church. In July, 1861, the reliable income 
of the society had fallen to four hundred dollars 
a year, and six months' salary was due the pastor. 
Some of the former members had removed from 
the city, and others had been overtaken with 
financial reverses. Under these circumstances, 
]Mr. Conant tendered his resignation to take effect 
the first Sunday in July, 1861. 

The Civil war had now begun and Mr. Conant 
enlisted in his country's service immediately after 
his resignation. He went to the front as a chap- 
lain in the Nineteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. 
At Nashville. February 8, 1863, Mr. Conant 
passed from earth to "bathe his weary soul in 
seas of heavenly rest." His death was due to ex- 
posure and over-exertion at the battle of Mur- 
freesboro. His death was universally la- 
mented. He was one of those rare souls whom 
every one loved, and who had never incurred an 
unkind feeling from any one. His remains were 
buried at Geneva, and Rev. Robert Collyer, then 
of Chicago, preached the funeral discourse. Dr. 
Collyer subsequently wrote a biography of Mr. 
Conant, with the title, "A Alan in Earnest." Mrs. 
Conant died March 20, i8q8, in her eightieth 

After Mr. Conant's resignation, services were 
maintained with some regularity ; but the church 
gradually declined. Fred May Holland began 
pastoral labors January 4. 1863. Differences 
arose. The conservative element became dissatis- 
fied with the pastor on account of his radical or 
"Parkerite"' tendencies. Mr. Holland was suc- 
ceeded by William G. Nowell. who was ordained 
April 14, 1864. Mr. Nowell left the church in 
June, 1865. The last pastor was Rev. D. M. 
Reed, a very scholarly gentleman. Mr. Reed 
wished some recognition of his denomination in 
the name of the church. In accordance with his 
request, the name was changed to the United 
Unitarian and Universalist church. The name, 
however, in legal matters was simply Unitarian. 
The church was subsequently sold, and in 1890 
the proceeds were divided pro rata among the 
original subscribers. Many of the members of 
the church united with the Church of the Chris- 
tian Union, and others became identified with the 
Second Congregational church. 



I'nder the first constitution of Illinois, the com- 
missioners, sheriff' and coroner were the only con- 
stitutional countv officers. The latter was elected 

every two years. The other county officers were 
created by statute. They were filled by appoint- 
ment made either by the county commissioners' 
court or by the governor. Previous to 1835 a 
recorder for each county was appointed bv the 
governor ; and a surveyor was chosen by the com- 
missioners' court. The statute of 1835 made 
these offices elective on the first Monday in 
August of that year, and every fourth year there- 
after. Previous to 1837 county treasurers and 
clerks of the commissioners" court were ap- 
pointed by said courts. An act approved Febru- 
ar\- 7th of that year made these offices elective on 
the first Monday in the following August, on a 
corresponding day in 1839, and in every fourth 
year thereafter. Up to 1837 a judge of probate 
was appointed for each county by the legislature. 
An act of March 4th made this office elective, 
with the title of probate justice of the peace, on 
the first Monday in August of that year, on a 
corresponding date in 1839, and in every fourth 
year thereafter. Under an act approved Febru- 
arv 27, 184:;, the tenure of office of probate 
justice of the peace, recorder, clerk of the county 
commissioners' court, surveyor and treasurer was 
reduced to two years. This law took eft'ect on the 
first }\Ionday in August, 1847. Under the con- 
stitution of 1848 the term of office of the county 
and circuit clerks was extended to four years. 

August I, 1836, occurred the first general elec- 
tion in Winnebago county. The choice of the 
county officers was given in a preceding para- 

L'nder an early statute, presidential elections in 
Illinois were held on the first Monday in Novem- 
ber. At the presidential election in 1836, only 
one hundred and fifty-eight votes were polled. 
This was an increase over the August election 
of thirty-eight votes. The Harrison electors re- 
ceived seventy votes, and the \"an Buren electors, 
eighty-eight : a democratic majority of eighteen. 

In 1837 Harvey W. Bundy was elected re- 
corder, to succeed Daniel H. \M:itney. of Belvi- 
dere, who had become a resident of the new 
countv of Boone. Herman B. Potter was elected 
county commissioner to succeed Simon P. Doty, 
of Belvidere. Charles I. Horsman was elected 
probate justice of the peace, ililton Kilburn had 
served as judge of probate the preceding year, 
under appointment. Nathaniel Loomis was 
chosen clerk of the commissioners' court ; Robert 
J. Cross was elected county treasurer. 

Winnebago count}- forged so rapidly to the 
front that in 1838 it was conceded one of the 
representatives in the general assembly, and 
Germanicus Kent was elected. Hon. James Craig 
was re-elected. Isaac N. Cunningham was 
elected sheriff of the county ; Cyrus C. Jenks, 
coroner : Don Alonzo Spaulding, surveyor : Elijah 
H. Brown, commissioner. In 1839 William E. 



Dunl)ar was elected recorder, ami John Emerson, 

The presidential cani])aiijn of 1840 was one of 
tlie most exciting in .American ])olitical history. 
The hero of Tippecanoe was the idol of his party, 
and no leader ever received a more enthusiastic 
support. Winnehajjo county had now become a 
wliij:^ stronjjhold, and the party waged an ag- 
gressive campaign against tlie locofocos. as the 
democrats were then called, .\pril nth the 
whigs held a convention at Rockford, and nomi- 
nated a full county ticket, .\mong the local 
leaders of this party were Seldcn AT. Church. 
Jacob Miller, H. P.. Potter. G. A. Sanford, Isaac 
N. Cimningham. Democratic principles were 
championed by Jason Marsh. Daniel S. Haight. 
Henry Thurston. P. Kna|)i)en. J. C. Goodhue. 
H. W. Loomis, C. I. Horsman. P.oone county 
had been organized from the eastern portion of 
Winnebago, and the western two ranges had been 
transferred to Ste]i]ien.son. In the .August elec- 
tions the wliigs polled six hundred and thirty- 
seven votes, and the democrats, two hundred and 
eighty-five. The total vote was nine hundred and 
fiftv-two. Thomas Drunimond, of Jo Daviess, 
and Hiram Thornton, of Mercer, both whigs. 
carried the county by good majorities for repre- 
sentative, and were elected. I. N. Cunningham 
was elected sheriff : .Alonzo Piatt, coroner ; and 
Ezra S. Cable, commissioner. 

The presidential election occurred in Novem- 
ber. The whigs cast seven lnin<lred and sixtv- 
eight votes in the county, and the democrats, 
three hundred and twenty-one : total, one thou- 
sand and eighty-nine ; whig majority, four hun- 
dred and forty-seven, .\brahani Lincoln was one 
of the five candidates for the presidential elector 
in Illinois. The facilities for communication were 
so meagre that the official vote of the state was 
not known in Rockford until late in December. 
A messenger from the capital, with the official 
vote of tlie state, passed through Rockford ten 
days in advance of its publication in the Chicago 
papers, and comnnmicated, it is said, the news to 
the prominent men of the democratic party in 
each village for betting purposes. Illinois was 
one of the seven states that elected Van Puren 
electors. This vote may have been intentionally 
kept back by the democratic officials at Sjiring- 
field. Through a technicality in an alleged non- 
compliance with the law. the legality of \Ir. Cun- 
ningham's election to the office of sheriff in 
.\ugust was questioned : and he again appealed to 
the voters at the November election, and received 
an emphatic cndorserTicnt. 

In 1842 Tndge Thomas Ford was elected 
governor by the democrats. That party in Win- 
nebago countv nominated the following ticket : 
Senator for \\'innebago and Ogle counties. Tames 
Mitchell : for representative. John A. Brown. 

editor of the Rockford Pilot: sheriff". John Paul: 
commissioner. .Spencer Post: coroner, Nathaniel 
Poomis. The whigs nominated S|)()oner Ruggles 
for senator : George \V. Lee. representative ; G. 
.\. Sanford, sheriff: Isaac M. Johnson, commis- 
sioner: Harvey (jregory, coroner. Mr. Lee with- 
drew, and Darius .\dams, of Pecatonica. was sub- 
stituted. The official vote of the county for sen- 
ator, representative and sheriff was as follows : 
Ruggles. four hundred and sixty-nine: Mitchell, 
four hundred and ninety : .Adams, five hundred 
and forty : Prown, three himdred and seventy-six ; 
Sanford, five hundred and fifty-nine: Paul, one 
hundred and twelve. Spooner Ruggles, Darius 
.\dams, .Spencer Post. G. A. Sanford and Na- 
thaniel Loomis were elected to the respective 

r.EWIS KE.XT : TIIK (INI.V St..\\l-: IN- Tlir. COU.VTY. 

Only one man ever lived in Winnebago county 
as a slave. His name w-as Lewis Kent, although 
he was more familiarly known as Lewis Lemon. 
In 1829, wdien Germanicus Kent was a citizen of 
.\labama, he purchased of Orrin Lemon a colored 
boy named Lewis. He was born in North Caro- 
lina, and had been taken by his master to Ala- 
bama. He was about seventeen years old at the 
time lie was sold to Mr. Kent for four hundred 
and fifty dollars in cash. When Mr. Kent de- 
cided to remove north, he jiroposed to sell Lewis ; 
but the colored man preferred his old master. 
.Mr. Kent made an agreement with I^ewis when 
they arrived at St. Louis. It was in substance 
that Lewis should pay him for his freedom at 
the expiration of six years and seven months, 
the sum of eight hundred dollars, with ten per 
cent, interest. Lewis obtained his freedom, how- 
ever, in four years and four months. On the 6th 
day of .September. 1839, Mr. Kent executed and 
placed in the hands of Lewis a deed of manu- 
mission. .At a session of the county commission- 
ers' court held in March. 1842, Mr. Kent filed for 
record the instrument which officially proclaimed 
Lewis Kent a free man. The transcript of this 
document, which is on file in the county clerk's 
oflfice. is the only evidence in Rockford of the 
existence of slavery, and that one of its victims 
Uere found freedom and a home. 

.After his manumission Lewis obtained some 
land, and earned his livelihood by the cultivation 
of garden produce. He died in September, 1877. 
His funeral was attended by nienibfr^ nf tin- OM 
Settlers' Society. 


Events of local interest occasionally have their 
historic background in national and even inter- 
national affairs. A notable instance was the cele- 



brated Polish claims made in 1836 to a portion 
of the territory which now comprises the town- 
ships of Rockford and Rockton. It is one of the 
most interesting chapters in the history of Win- 
nebago county. Local histories have briefly re- 
ferred to the incident, but only one complete 
statement of the affairs has previously been writ- 

The checkered career of Poland furnishes the 
historic background. The reader of history will 
recall the Polish rebellion of 1830-31. Previous 
to that time her territory had been partitioned be- 
tween Russia and other powers. The impulse to 
this uprising of 1830 was given by the French, 
and was begun by a number of students, who pro- 
posed to seize the Grand Duke Constantine in the 
vicinity of Warsaw. The city and the troops en- 
listed in the movement, imder the command of 
General Chlopicki. a veteran of the wars of Na- 
poleon. Upon the suppression of this uprising 
in the following year, the leaders were sent into 
exile. They naturally sought refuge in this 

The forlorn condition of these exiles enlisted 
the sympathy of the American people, and con- 
gress rendered them some assistance. An act was 
approved June 30, 1834, which granted to these 
Polish exiles, two hundred and thirty-five in num- 
ber, who had been transported to this country by 
the order of the emperor of Austria, thirty-six 
.sections of land. These sections were to be se- 
lected by them, under the direction of the secre- 
tary of the treasury, in any three adjacent town- 
ships of the public lands, surveyed or unsurveyed, 
in the state of Illinois or the territory of Michi- 
gan. After this land had been surveyed it became 
the duty of the secretary of the treasury to divide 
the thirty-six sections into equal parts, and to dis- 
tribute them by lot among the exiles. They were 
to reside upon and cultivate these lands for ten 
years, and at the expiration of this time they were 
to obtain their patents upon the payment of the 
minimum price per acre. 

The exiles arrived in America in 1835, and 
their committee, at the head of whom was Coimt 
Chlopicki, arrived in Rockford in the autumn of 
the following year. The count was an elderly 
gentleman, well informed, and apparently an ex- 
cellent judge of land. Upon his arrival in the 
Rock river valley, he selected townships forty- 
four and forty-six, range one east. These are 
Rockford and Rockton. The intervening town- 
ship of Owen was not taken, and thus was 
violated one of the provisions of the grant, which 
stipulated that the land should be selected in three 
adjacent townships. 

Much of this land was already in the posses- 
sion of American citizens when the count arrived 
upon the scene. They had only a squatter's title, 
inasmuch as there was then no pre-emption law 


that would apply in this case, and the govern- 
ment had not placed the land upon the market. 
The settlers had enclosed their farms and made 
such improvements as they were able. More- 
over, the several Indian "floats" in these town- 
ships might have precedence over the claims of 
settlers or exiles. But these facts did not dis- 
turb the plans of the doughty count. He dis- 
regarded the squatter rights of the settlers, and 
made a formal selection of their land, and re- 
ported his choice to the secretary of the treasury. 

While in this section Count Qilopicki had been 
a guest of Germanicus Kent. That gentleman 
explained the situation to his visitor, and the lat- 
ter declared that the settlers should not be dis- 
turbed. He thus set their fears at rest in a 
measure. But these assurances were not entirely 
satisfactory, and after the count's departure a sum 
of money was raised and Mr. Kent was sent to 
Washington to make further inquiry. The 
anxiety of the settlers was increased by the fact, 
as already stated, that they held no titles to the 
land upon which they had settled. Upon Mr. 
Kent's arrival in Washington he found that his 
apprehensions were well founded. The count had 
not kept his word ; he had chosen the very town- 
ships he had promised Mr. Kent he would not 
select. Mr. Kent went directly to the land office 
and made his complaint before the commissioner ; 
but he was told that every settler in the county 
was a trespasser, and that he had no legal right 
to a foot of the land which he had so uncer- 
emoniously taken. It is said facts are stubborn 
things. Mr. Kent and the settlers knew that the 
commissioner was correct, but they did not be- 
come alarmed. Perhaps they thought that in 
union there was strength. The secretary of the 
treasury did not, however, order the subdivision 
of the lands, because their selection by the Polish 
agent was not in compliance with the law, and 
thus the matter rested for some years. 

The selection of these lands by the Polish 
agent, while squatters' possession was held by 
the settlers, complicated the whole question of 
titles. The settlers had certain rights in equity, 
but inasmuch as no pre-emption law was then in 
force that would bear upon the case, the govern- 
ment did not at that time formally recognize their 
claims. In view of this fact, it is not a matter 
of surprise that the Polish count, in his desire to 
select good lands for his exiled countrymen, 
should disregard claims that the government did 
not recognize. Moreover this section of the Rock 
river vailey had been framed in the prodigality of 
nature. Its soil was good, its atmosphere in- 
vigorating, its scenery a perpetual delight. The 
possession of such land always promotes domestic 
happiness and commercial strength. 

The lands in this vicinity belonged at that time 
to the Galena land district, and with the excep- 



ii..ii ui Kockfonl aiul Ruckton. wi-re opened to 
sale and entry in the autumn of 1839. These 
to\vnshi]>s. whicli inchided the thirty-six sections 
in controversy, were withheld from sale for nearly 
eig'ht years after they had been surveyed. 

Matters continued in this unsettled condition 
until 1843. In tiie meantime the land office had 
been removed to Dixon, through the influence of 
John Dixon, who settled there in 1830, and after 
whom the town was named. In 1840 Mr. Dixon 
went til W'asiiington, and ihroujjb the influence 
of General Scott and other army officers, who 
were his ])ersonal friends, he secured the removal 
of the government land office from Galena to 
Dixon. The settlers in Kockford could not pro- 
cure i)atents of the lands which they had occupied 
for some \ears. The attention of congress was 
repeatedly called to the situation. The settlers 
addressed petitions to that body imtil their griev- 
ance received attention. The Polish agent had 
forfeited his claim in not .selecting his lands in 
three adjacent townships. The exiles had also 
forfeited their rights in not making an actual set- 
tlement on the lands. Congress, therefore, April 
14. 1842. passed another act, authorizing the 
entry and sale of these lands in these two town- 
ships. This relief was due in large measure to 
the efforts of Hon. O. H. Smith, of Indiana : Hon. 
Robert J. Walker, of Mississipjii. and Hon. Rich- 
ard M. Young, of this state, senators in congress. 
When the settlers had been finally delivered 
from their dilemma by a special act of congress, 
thev began to make jireiiarations to perfect their 
titles to their lands. The inhabitants petitioned 
the president for a public sale. Fifteen months 
elapsed before their ])elition was granted, and 
October 30. 1843, the land in these townships 
was offered for sale, and was sold November 
3d. It was the most notable land sale that ever 
occurred in the district. Rockford had been in- 
corporated as a town four years before. Daniel 
S. Haight had platted the East side, north of 
State, as far east as Longwood. and south of 
.State east to Kishwaukee. .\ portion of this had 
been i)latteil as early as 1836: and Mr. Haight 
had sold the lots to the settlers and given them 
quit-claim deeds to the same several years before 
he had obtained his own patent from the govern- 
ment. When the land was finally offered for 
sale at the land office, Mr. Haight was authorized 
to go to Dixon and bid in the entire tract for 
the settlers. A committee, appointed for this 
jiur|iiise, prepared a list of names to whom the 
rleeds shiiuld be given after the sale. This com- 
mittee consisted of Willard Wheeler. David S. 
Penfield, E. H. Potter, of Rockford. and 
Nathaniel Crosby, of Bclviderc. This committee 
was in session several days, passed upon every 
lot in the town on the East side, and decided quite 
a number of disputed claims. Mr. Crosby was 

not present, liut it was understood that a majority 
should have power to act. Thus a number of the 
first settlers of East Rockford purchased their 
land twice. The first purchase of town lots was 
from Mr. Haight ; the second was made through 
Mr. Haight as agent, from the general govern- 
ment. Inasmuch, however, as the land office took 
no notice of the fad that the land had been 
platted, it was sold at the usual price of a dollar 
and a quarter per acre. The second purchase 
was therefore more of a formality than an ad- 
ditional burden. With the land sold in bulk, at 
a dollar and a c|uarter per acre, the second pur- 
chase of a town lot, from the government, w'as 
at a nominal ])rice. merely its relative value to an 
unplatted acre of land. This second purchase, 
however, perfected the title. 

At this point it may be necessary to state that 
Mr. Haight's first sales of land were perfectly 
legitimate transactions. The ])urchasers knew at 
the time that a second purchase would be neces- 
sary to procure a perfect title. There was re- 
centlv found among some old pa])ers of the late 
Francis r>urna|) a list of the town lots in East 
Rockford and the names of the persons to whom 
the deeds should be given after the land sale. The 
document comprises seventeen pages of legal cap, 
and is jierfectly preserved. .\t the same sale at 
Dixon the land on the west side of the river was 
bid in for the settlers by Ephraim W'yman. The 
\\"est side committee was composed of G. .\. San- 
ford. Derastus Harper, and George Haskell. The 
certificates of title were turned over to Mr. Wy- 
man by the committee. When Mr. Wyman went to 
California, about 1850. these certificates were left 
in a trunk, in charge of G. A. San ford. During 
Mr. \\'yman's absence they were totally destroyed 
by rodents : and these facts are set forth with 
grave precision by Mr. Wyman. in a certificate, 
duplicates of which are on file in the abstract 
offices of this city. 

Thus for a period of nine years from Mr. 
Kent's settlement were the early residents of 
Rockford and Rockton unable to obtain titles to 
the lands which lluy had selected and improved, 
bv reason of the illegal intrusion of an exiled 
Polish count. The seijuel is one of those facts 
that is stranger than fiction. Only one of those 
exiles ever subsequently appeared in Rockford or 
WinnelKigo countv. He was emi)loyed for a time 
as a cook, in 1837, by Henry Thurston, the land- 
lord of the old Rockford House. The later history 
of the exiles is unknown. 

Mr. Haight's plat of East Rockford was filed 
for record November 7. 1843, four days after the 
land sale. The east part of the original town of 
Rockford, west of Rock river, included all that 
part of the city lying south of a line drawn 
from the Beattie residence west to the property 
now occupied by the Ziock flats, and east of a 



line drawn from the latter point to the west 
end of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad 
bridge. It was platted by Duncan Ferguson, No- 
vember 9, 1843. ^id filed for' record by Ephraim 
Wyman, November 28, 1843. 

J. W. Leavitt's town plat included all that part 
of West Rockford situated between Wynian"s plat 
on the east, and Kent's creek on the west and 
south. This plat was made August 17, 1844. 
and filed for record October 5. 1844. 


The attempt to utilize the water-power was the 
first step in the transition of Rockford from a 
hamlet to a manufacturing city. February 28, 
1843. 'I" '^ct of the legislature was approved, to 
improve the navigation of the rapids in Rock 
river at Rockford, and to incorporate the Rock- 
ford Hydraulic and Manufacturing Company. 
The corporation was given power to construct a 
dam across the river, which should raise the water 
not more than seven feet. The company was 
also required to erect and maintain such locks as 
might be necessary for the passage of steamboats 
drawing three feet of water. At that time the 
navigation of Rock river was an open question, 
and the government might assert its control of 
the river as a navigable stream. A dam would 
obstruct navigation : hence the company was re- 
quired to construct locks for the passage of boats, 
whenever they should become necessary. The law 
specified the rates of toll which the company 
should be entitled to collect for the passage of 
boats through the locks ; and it was given power 
to detain such craft until the toll should be paid. 
Daniel S. Haight, Germanicus Kent. Samuel D. 
Preston, Laomi Peake, Charles I. Horsman, 
George Haskell and J. C. Goodhue were ap- 
pointed commissioners to receive subscriptions to 
the stock. The capital stock was placed at fifty 
thousand dollars, divided into five hundred shares 
of one hundred dollars each. The corporation 
was given power to increase its capital stock to 
an}- sum not exceeding two hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. The law expressly provided 
that the state might, at any time after the con- 
struction of the dam and locks, assume the owner- 
ship of the same : the state, however, was to keep 
them in good repair. All the hydraulic power 
was to remain absolutely the property of the com- 
pany. July 22. 1843, books were opened for sub- 
scriptions to the capital stock. By an act of the 
legislature, approved February 11, 1845, the law 
of 1843 was amended. 

In the spring of 1844 the Rockford Hydraulic 
Company was fully organized. The dam was 
located a few rods above the present water-works. 
Directly above, the main channel of the stream 
shifted abruptly from the east to the west shore. 

On the east side, at the site of the dam, the water 
for two-thirds the width of the stream, was about 
three feet deep in summer, with eight or nine feet 
in the channel. This site for the dam was chosen 
because it was generally believed that if the dam 
were located at the head of the rapids, the town 
would be built there. Had the dam been built at 
the ford, on the rock bottom, it would have re- 
quired a larger outlay of cash. This article was 
scarce, while timber, brush, stone and earth were 

Edward S. Hanchett. of Freeport, had charge 
of the construction of the dam when it was com- 
menced. He abandoned the work and was suc- 
ceeded by C. C. Coburn. Eighty acres of the best 
timber land were stripped of material to build the 
(lam and repair the breaks. This brush dam was 
built to a level with the banks. A frame-work 
was then raised on the brush, to which plank was 
spiked. The work of graveling then began. The 
rock and gravel were obtained along the bank of 
the river from sixty to eighty rods above the dam. 
There were head-gates at either end, built high 
above the comb of the dam, with gates which 
opened like the gates of a lock on a canal, wide 
enough for the passage of steamboats. At each 
side of these gates were openings to admit the 
water to the races, which carried it to the mills 
below. As the water raised on the brush, the 
fish, coming down the river, would lodge on the 
dam during the night ; and in the morning the 
people would get sturgeon, pickerel, black bass 
and catfish. The dam was completed in the 
autumn of 1845. I" '*^s issue of September 24th 
the Forum said : "As we hear the roaring sound 
of the falling waters (which can now on a still 
morning be heard for several miles arovmd) daily 
increasing in strength and power, as the sheet of 
water becomes thicker and heavier, as the dam is 
made closer and tighter, we cannot but realize 
more forcibly the immense influence which these 
hydraulic works are to exert upon our town and 
country if the dam remains firm and pennanent." 

The mill-race on the east side extended to Wal- 
nut street, and was twenty feet in width. At 
the end of the race Gregory. Phelps & Daniels 
had a sawmill. At the south side of State street 
was Nettleton's gristmill, the first in Rockford, 
which was started in 1846. Just below James B. 
Howell operated carding and fulling machinery. 
WHieeler & Lyon"s sawmill was at Walnut street. 
The race on the west side was about fifteen rods 
in length. At the head Thomas D. Robertson and 
Charles I. Horsman built a sawmill. Just below, 
Orlando Clark had an iron foundry in a stone 
building. It is significant that three of these six 
plants were sawmills. Pine lumber had not come 
into general use, and the only available material 
for frame dwellings were the trees of the ad- 
jacent forests. 


April j8. 184^1. tlu' west end of tlie dam went 
out. About two hundred feet, includintj tlie Inilk- 
liead, were swept away, and more tlian an acre 
of ground was washed out. The Mydrauhc Com- 
pany imniecHately decided to repair the dam, and 
the work was completed duriufj the year. 

March 20, 1847, the dam ^'dve away at the 
east entl, and carried away the sawmill of Gre- 
gory. Phel])s & Daniels. About one hundred and 
fifty feet of the dani were washed out at this time. 
This break was re])aired by Mr. Xcttleton. 
rhel|>s and Daniels sold tlieir interest in the 
wrecked sawmill to Lewis H. Gregory and A. C. 
.'^|)alTord, who rebuilt it. The mills then had 
good water-power until June i, 185 1, when the 
entire dam went out. breaking away at the west 
bidkhead. Several changes on the East side then 
followe<l. Mr. Howell renuivecl his carding ma- 
chine to Xew Mil ford, where he remained until 
the next year, when he returned to Rockford. to 
the West side, just below the I'.artlett flouring 
mills. Wheeler & Lyon's mill was removed 
across the race near Joseph Rodd's mill, and 
became a part of his plant. 

In February, 1849, the legislature provided for 
the improvement of the navigation of Rock river, 
and for the ])roduction of hydraulic power, under 
a general law. It ap]iears liy an entry on the 
county records, that under tliis law the company 
filed a certificate of incoqioration .\i)ril 13. 1849, 
before the abandonment of the enterjirise. The 
organization of the present water-power com- 
pany, two years later, will he considered in 
later paragraphs. 


The early official records of the postoffice de- 
I)artment at Washington are very meagre. There 
arc no local records, as these arc supposed to be 
kept at Washington. In 1890 Hon. Robert R. 
Hitt addressed a letter to Hon. John Wanamaker, 
who was then postmaster-general, asking for in- 
formation upon this subject. That official re- 
plied that the records were incomplete during the 
early history of the service, and he could only 
give the time of appointment and resignation of 
the first postmaster. The later information has 
been obtained from the files of the Rockford 
newspa|)ers in the jiublic library. This is the only 
source from which the facts given in these para- 
graphs could he secured. The research involved 
considerable time and labor, and it is impossible 
to give the e.xact date upon which the com- 
missions were issued. 

Daniel S. Haight was tlie first postmaster. His 
commission was dated .'\ugust 31, 1837. and he 
served until May, 1R41. 

The first mail arrived about September 15th. 
J'revious to this time the small packages of mail 

had been brought from Oiicago by parties who 
matle trii)s to that city for sujiplies. An order 
for mail ujjon the jjostmaster at that office, to 
which each man attached his name, was left at 
Mr. Haight's house. The first mail was brought 
on horseback, the second by a carrier, and the 
third by open wagon with two horses. .After the 
postoffice had been established, the contract for 
carrying the mail was made with John D. Win- 
ters. .Vhout this time Winters became associated 
with Frink. Walker & Co. Still later Winters 
was on the line west from Rockford, and finally 
Frink, Walker & Co. carried the mail on the 
through line. Previous to January, 1838, the 
mail arrived from Chicago once a week. In 
1831J-40 the mails arrived from the west and east 
each three times a week. The northern and the 
southern mails came once a week : the mail from 
Mineral Point arrived on Saturday, and the mail 
from Coltonville caiuc on Wednesday. 

The first mail, in September, arrived with no 
key, an(^ it was returned unopened. When the 
second mail arrived a key had been providetl, but 
the postmaster was not equal to the combination, 
and he turned it over to Giles C. Hard, who 
solved the pmblem. Its contents, about a hatful, 
were received with a general handshaking. The 
postage was twenty-five cents for each letter, and 
stamps were unknown. Mr. Haight erected a 
small building sixteen by twenty-six feet, one 
and a half story, in the summer of 1837, for a 
jiostoffice, near 107 South Madison street. There 
were about twenty-five boxes. This building was 
used until the following year when Mr. Haight 
erected a more conunodious structure near 312 
East State street with ante-room and boxes. This 
building was used for this purpose during sev- 
eral adiuinstrations. 

Mr. Haight was succeeded by Edward War- 
ren, a brother of Mrs. Cliarles H. SpafTord. Mr. 
Warren served until August, 1841. 

Selden M. Church was the tliird postmaster, 
and served two years, when he was removed. 
The announcement of this change was made in 
three lines by the Rockford Forum. In the en- 
tire history of Rockford there is nothing more 
marked than the evolution of its newspapers from 
the most primitive sort to the present daily of 
luetropolitau proportions. 

In .\ugust, 1843, Charles IT. Spafford was ap- 
])ninted postmaster. There is a tradition that Mr. 
Church was f|uite active in obtaining the office ; 
and, to balance the account, Mr. Warren, who was 
not lacking in influence, used it in securing the 
appointment for his brother-in-law. The late 
Mrs. Spafford recalled interesting reminiscences 
of those davs. She says : "The postoffice busi- 
ness was not large at that time : there were no 
clerks. The mail came at night and re(|uired the 
postmaster to get out at midnight or very early 



morning- to change tlie mail. \\'liat seems more 
strange, the postoffice money was kept at the 
house in my dressing bureau. Mr. Spafford was 
accustomed to come home late in the evening, 
bringing a bag of money. In those times of burg- 
laries all this occasioned me a good deal of 
anxiety, as I was alone so much of the time when 
Mr. SpaiTord was at the office : especially as 
houses were not securely built in those days. I 
was not sorry when the robber band that had been 
committing the burglaries around were secured 
and taken to Joliet." 

In Jidy, 1845, Charles I. Horsman received the 
appointment. Two years before, in 1843, Mr. 
Horsman erected a small structure at 306 West 
State street. It was occupied by Colonel James 
W. Taylor as a dry goods store, and was the first 
building erected on West State street for busi- 
ness purposes. In the following year he pur- 
chased the stock of Mr. Taylor, and sold dry 
goods himself. In 1845 li*? built a wing. No. 
306^, and moved the postoffice into it from the 
East side. The jealousy between the two sides 
of the river was very acute, and ^Ir. Horsman 
was obliged to move his fixtures across the river 
in the night. This building with others adjoin- 
ing was removed, in 1873, to make room for the 
present brick block, which is still owned by the 
Horsman estate. The postoffice remained at 
306^^ West State street during ^iFr. Horsman's 
term of office. 

Buel G. Wheeler was appointed postmaster in 
May, 1849, and served four years. Mr. Wheeler 
removed the postoffice to the East Side, into the 
building which had been occupied by the first 
postmaster, and stood on the west side of South 
^Madison street. 

In June, 1853, C. I. Horsman received a second 
appointment, and served until i8v- He removed 
the office to the building on West State street, 
from which it had been taken by ]\Ir. Wheeler 
four years previous. The postoffice has remained 
on the West side for the past forty-eight years. 

G. F. Hambright succeeded Mr. Horsman in 
March, 1857, and held the office four years. He 
removed the office into the new Holland House 
block, which had been completed the vear before. 
The office occupied the corner ground floor. 

Melancthon Smith was commissioned by Presi- 
dent Lincoln in 1861. Mr. Smith subsequently 
enlisted in the service of his country, and went to 
the front with the Forty-fifth Illinois regiment. 
June 25, 1863, Colonel Smith was mortally 
wounded at the storming of a fort at \'icksburg 
by General Logan's division. He lingered three 
days in a state of half-consciousness, and died 
Sunday morning, June 28th, in the thirty-sixth 
year of his age. 

After Colonel Smith's death the local 
politicians supported David T. Dixon as the logi- 

cal candidate for his successor in the postoffice. 
.\ ]H'tition, however, was numerously signed by 
the citizens, asking for the appointment of Mrs. 
Smith. Melancthon Starr, who was a cousin of 
Colonel Smith, went to Washington and presented 
the matter to President Lincoln. The president 
endorsed her application, and sent a letter to the 
postmaster-general, of which the following is a 
copy : 

"Executive ^Mansion, Washington, July 24, 
1863. — Hon. Postmaster-General: Yesterday lit- 
tle indorsements of mine went to you in two cases 
of postmastershi]is sought for widows whose hus- 
bands have fallen in the battles of this war. These 
cases occurring on the same day brought me to 
reflect more attentively than I have before done, 
as to what is fairly due from us here in the dis- 
pensing of patronage toward the men who, fight- 
ing our battles, bear the chief burden of saving 
our country. My conclusion is that other claims 
and qualifications being equal, they have the bet- 
ter right, and this is especially applicable to the 
disabled soldier and the deceased soldier's family. 
"Your obedient servant, 

A. Lincoln." 

Mrs. Smith accordingly received the appoint- 
ment, and completed the term. Mrs. Smith be- 
came the wife of General A. L. Chetlain, of Chi- 
cago. She is a sister of Mrs. Julia A. Clemens, 
of Rockford. 

Mrs. Smith was succeeded by the Hon. Anson 
S. Miller, who assumed the duties April I, 1865. 
Judge Miller removed the postoffice from the 
Holland House to the Brown's hall block. He 
retained the office six years. 

In 1 87 1 Charles H. Spafford was appointed 
postmaster and served four years. 

February 20, 1875, President Grant sent to the 
senate the name of Abraham E. Smith, editor of 
the Rockford Gazette, for postmaster at Rock- 
ford. Mr. Smith was confirmed February 24: 
received his commission March 23, and assumed 
the duties of the office April i. In December, 
1875, Mr. Smith removed the postoffice to that 
part of the block on the river bank now occupied 
by the Register-Gazette. 

The choice of a successor to Air. Smith was 
informally determined by a direct popular vote of 
the citizens. ^Mr. Smith was a candidate for re- 
appointment, but he refused to go before the 
people. Saturday, December 21, 1878, a special 
election was held. Israel Sovereign received 214 
votes : Thomas G. Lawler, i ,689 votes : a ma- 
jority for the latter of 1,475. The name of Col- 
onel Lawler was sent to the senate by President 
Hayes, February 19, 1879, He was confirmed 
Febrrarv 22. and began the duties of the office 
Alarch 15. Colonel Lawler was reappointed by 
President Arthur. 

October 5, 1885, considerably more than a 



year before llie expiration of Colonel Lawler's 
second term. President Cleveland a]i])()inled John 
D. Waterman as postmaster, and he began his 
duties November 2d. Mr. Waterman's term e.x- 
pired during' the administration of President Har- 
rison, and Colonel l-awler was reinstated. When 
(Jrover Cleveland was elected president a second 
time he again appointed .Mr. Waterman. His 
name was sent to the senate Decemlxr 19, 1893. 
and continued January 8, 1894. With the ad- 
vent of William McKinlcy to the presidency. 
Colonel Lawler was again a])pointed and still 
holds the office. His nomination was sent to the 
senate by President McKinky. January 13. 1898. 
Colonel Pawler has the uiii(|ue distinction of re- 
ceiving commissions as ])ostmaster of Rockford 
signed by five presidents of the United States : 
Rutherford li. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, 
lienjamin Harrison. William McKinley and 
Theodore Roosevelt. Thus for a period of nearly 
twenty-six years the postmastershii) has see- 
-sawed between Thomas G. Lawler and John D. 

I'Ved Wheat is a veteran in the postal service. 
He first entered the local office in .\pril, 1866. 
There was an interval of fourteen years when he 
was in the railway mail service. He then re- 
turned to the city office, where he has since re- 
mained. Mr. \Vheat has been assistant post- 
master since 1889. 

The government building was authorized by 
act of congress apjiroved February 9. 1891. and 
was appropriated for by act of March 3. 1891. 
It is located on the southwest corner of Alain and 
Green streets. The land was secured by pur- 
chase February 2, 1892, for the sum of $17,500. 
The building was completed and occupied Octo- 
ber I. i8<>3. The cost of construction was $82,- 
169.14. It is constructed of Portage red sand- 
stone and coiuaius a space of 186.000 cubic feet. 

The Rockford postoffice now gives emplov- 
nient to sixty-three men. There are eleven rural 
free delivery routes. Hy the extension of this 
system the postoffices at Elida, Wcmpleton and 
Latham Park have been discontinued. 

oKc.x.Niz.vriox OF riiK ciiuRcn. 

The Unitarian church did not at first in- 
clude all the adherents of a liberal Christian faith. 
At a meeting held in the brick schoolhouse, in 
Fast Rockford. .\i)ril 24, 1841. a Universalist 
church was organized by the election of Daniel 
S. Haight, I*>.ra Dorman and Thomas Thatcher 
as trustees. This election was recorded in the 
recorder's office, as provided by law'. It is not 
probable that the official records of this church 
have been preserved. It is known; however, that 
j)rcaching services were held at the courthouse 
on the Fast side, and at the schoolhouse a por- 

tion of the tiiuc during the next ensuing few 

In 1841 the Universalists were sufficiently 
strong to consider the erection of a house of 
worship. In those days the citizens regarded any 
church, of whatever name, as a factor in pro- 
moting the general welfare of the vill.ige. Hence 
the name of a generous. ])ul)lic-s])iriteil citizen 
would be found among the contributors to the 
support of liberal and orthodox churches alike. 
The original subscription list for the Universalist 
church which is still extant, is an interesting 
document. .Mr. Haight gave a lot which he 
valued at one hundred dollars ; the same amount 
in carpenter's and joiner's work ; "forty-two sleep- 
ers in my wood-lot near Rockford. seventeen feet 
long, at three cents per foot, twenty-one dollars 
and forty-two cents :" and fifty dollars in money. 
.Almost the entire subscri])tions are in work or 
material. William W'orthington subscril^ed ten 
dollars in blacksmith's work ; Charles Latimer, 
twenty dollars, how i)aid is not stated ; A. M. 
Catlin. in produce fir building material, twenty- 
five dollars; J. M. Wight, one thousand feet of 
lumber at Stokes & Jewett's mill, twelve dollars. 

On Thursday, July 22. 1841, the corner-stone 
of the Universalist church was laid on a site near 
the East side public S(|uare. The large assem- 
blage included peoj^le of other denominations. 
Prayer was offered hy Rev. Mr. \'an .Mstine, and 
a discourse was delivered by Rev. Seth Piarnes. 
This structure was never comjileted. .\ stranger, 
in jjassing the unfinished building, intiuired of 
Dr. George Haskell concerning its ])urpose. The 
doctor replied that it was an "insurance policy hell-fire." .Xll the original supporters of 
this project are gone : and not even tradition has 
given the cause for its sudden abandonment. 
Thus the Unitarian church became the one liberal 
household of faith. 


Ten years elajised from the first settlement of 
the village before Rock river was spanned by a 
bridge at Rockfonl. .\ bill had passeil the legis- 
lature, aiijiroved I'ebruary 27, 1843, aiuhorizing 
Daniel S. Haight, S. D. Preston. Charles I. Hors- 
man. and their associates to build a bridge. When 
coiui)leted in a manner so as not to obstruct the 
navigation of the river, and accepted by the 
countv commissioners' court, it was to be a public 
highway, anil kept in repair by the county. Piut 
nothing was done until nearly one year later, when 
the construction of the county buildings on the 
West side emphasized this need to the citizens of 
the East side, where the courts had been held. 
The entire i)eo]iIe felt that a bridge must be 
built, although few had means enough to con- 
duct their own business successfullv. Citizens of 



the West side, including- the country west of the 
village, had built the courthouse and jail without 
a dollar's expense to their neighbors on the east 
side of the river. But the progressive citizens 
were willing to assume another burden. At a 
meeting held in December, 1843, a committee con- 
sisting" of E. H. Potter, D. Howell, Willard 
Wheeler, C. I. Horsman and G. A. Sanford, 
were appointed to solicit subscriptions. A per- 
sistent efifort throughout the county secured 
pledges to warrant the construction of an oak 
lattice bridge. All the money raised at this time 
was by subscriptions. The most liberal con- 
tributors were Frink, Walker & Co., the stage 
proprietors. January 22, 1844. the committee let 
the contract to Derastus Harper. This gentle- 
man was a competent workman. He subsequently 
went to Cliicago. became the city engineer, and 
designed the first pivot bridge across the Chicago 
river. The lumber was cut from trees on gov- 
ernment land on Pecatonica river, rafted down 
the Rock, and sawed at Mr. Kent's mill. The 
covering for the lattice was basswood boards, cut 
from logs in Mr. Blake's grove, and sawed at 
Kent's mill. C. I. Horsman and William G. 
Ferguson drew the logs. By August or Septem- 
ber, Mr. Harper had sufficient material on hand 
to commence laying the bridge. This was done 
nearly in the rear of the Masonic Temple site, on 
the piece of level bottom. The bridge was of 
three strings of lattice-work, made from oak 
planks, fastened with oak pins. There was no 
iron in the structure, except the nails that held 
the half-inch basswood boards which covered the 
lattice when the structure was completed. There 
were stone abutments on either shore. Christmas 
night, 1844, the lattice was in place a distance of 
about seventy feet from the west shore, supported 
by temporary trestles. Ice formed about the 
trestles from the west shore. The water arose 
and lifted the entire structure, including the 
trestles, when it toppled over with a crash. The 
pride and fond anticipations of the village went 
out with it. Such discouragement is seldom de- 
picted on the faces of the entire community. x\ll 
shared in the disappointment : but the energies of 
the citizens were not easily foiled. A united 
efifort was made in a short time, and promises 
were again secured. The abutments, piers and 
one section were left, and some of the material 
was saved which had floated down stream. The 
fallen lattice was taken from the water, and each 
plank numbered with red chalk ; and excepting a 
few that were splintered, thev were again placed 
in proper order. After the ice went out in March, 
1845, the structure was again raised, without ac- 
cident. Cheerfulness and hopefulness assumed full 
sway : and after many discouragements the bridge 
was open for travel. Julv 4, 1843. It was a time 
of great rejoicing. The public-spirited citizens 

of Rockford felt that Independence Day had been 
properly celebrated. When the last plank had 
been laid E. H. Potter mounted a horse and was 
the first man to ride across the bridge. It was 
estimated that two thousand people crossed the 
bridge that day. There were two roadways, 
separated by the centre lattice, which projected 
about five feet above the planking. 

Perhaps no other public improvement in Rock- 
ford ever so tested the courage and financial 
strength of the community. The burden fell 
heavily upon the committee. The contract with 
Mr. Harper was for five thousand and five hun- 
dred dollars. A financial statement, made July 
15, 1845, showed that only two thousand eight 
hundred and forty-seven dollars and ninety cents 
had been collected. The committee had borrowed 
five hundred dollars on their personal credit, for 
which they were paying twelve per cent. There 
was also a balance due Mr. Harper of one thou- 
sand two hundred and ninety-seven dollars. The 
bridge served its day and generation very well, 
but it was subject to many calamities. The dam 
broke three times after the bridge was completed. 
When the west end broke in April, 1846, the 
pressure of the water on the upper side of the 
center and principal pier removed the foundation 
on that side and settled the bridge in the center 
of the up-stream side nearlv to the water, and 
gave it the appearance of being twisted nearly 
one-fourth around. The bridge stood in this 
])osition for some months, when a contract was 
made with William Ward to raise it into position. 
The bridge sustained some injury when the east- 
ern portion of the dam broke in April, 1847. On 
the 25th of February preceding a law of the legis- 
lature had been approved, providing for a special 
tax to be levied upon the taxable property of 
Rockford precinct, for the purpose of repairing 
and maintaining the bridge, and for the payment 
of the debt incurred in its construction. New- 
ton Crawford, Bela Shaw, Ephraim Wyman and 
Daniel ^IcKenney were appointed bridge com- 
missioners by the act, and vested with power to 
declare the amount of tax to be levied, which 
was not to exceed fifty cents on one hundred 
dollars. These commissioners were appointed by 
the act, until their successors should be elected 
annually at the .\ugust election. When the dam 
went out the third time, in June. 1851, the bridge 
withstood the rush of waters, although it was 
wrenched from its position. It reminded one of 
a cow-path or a rail-fence, and had a very in- 
secure look. Though twisted from end to end, 
it kept its place very tenaciously until it was re- 
placed by the covered bridge in the winter of 
1852-53. Its memory should be treated with re- 
spect. It enabled people to attend their own re- 
spective churches, for nearly everybody went in 
those days — Congregationalists on the West side, 



an<l the .Methodists on the East side. Post office 
and county l)nildin_sjs were accessible to all. It 
proved a linnd of nnion hetween the two sides. 

KIUST KUL'.NDKV .\NI) .\l .\l 1 1 1 .\ K SllOl'. 

The first foundry and niaciiine sho]i was built 
in the autumn ot 1843. or early in the s]>rinjj of 
the followintj year. It stood on the site of Jerc- 
niiali Davis' residence, on Xorth Second street. 
The proprietors were Peter II. and William W'at- 
.son. Tlieir father's family came from Canada 
and settled on a farm in the Enoch neighborhood 
in (iuilford. Peter Watson was at one time as- 
sistant secretary of war durinjj the civil conllict, 
and at a later period was president of the Xcw 
"^'ork and I">ie railroad. The foundry was run- 
nintj in the sjirins; of 1844. The jiroprietors ob- 
tained a contract for larjj^e pumps and jjipes for 
raisintj water from the lead mines at Galena. 
March 11. 1845. William Wat.son sold his interest 
in the business to his brother and eufjag'ed in the 
manufacture of fanniufj mills. Peter H. con- 
tiiuieil the foundrv until .Aujjust, 1843. His suc- 
cessors in the business at this stand were in turn : 
R. E. Reynolds. 0. K. Lyon. John Stevens. H. 
H. .Silsbv Laomi Peake. and James L. Fountain. 
The last named proprietor removed the material 
and patterns to Xew Milford about 1852. The 
last vear Mr. Sil.sby conducted the business, in 
i84i>. it was prosperous. Peojile came a distance 
of forty miles to g;et their work done. Mr. Silsbv 
was often reiiiiired to work niijhts in order to 
ketj) up with his orders. James Worslcy was the 
ex|)ert moulder durinsj all these years, and he was 
master of his trade. He was afterward in the 
employ of Clark & L'tter until his retirement from 
the business bv reason of old age. 

Orlando Clark, who has been erroneouslv 
credited with building the first foundrv. came 
from Dcloit in 1847. and established himself in 
business on the \Vest side race, where he re- 
mained imtil 185 1, when lie went into business 
with .Mr. l'tter on the new water-])ower. Mr. 
Clark built the residence in South Rockford. 
which is now the liome of Mrs. John C. Harver. 


E.nierson observes that an institiUion is the 
lenf,'tliened shallow of one man; as, the Reforiua- 
lion of Luther: Methodism, of Wesley: and that 
all history resolved it.self into the biographv of a 
few stout and earnest jiersons. Thus, he savs. 
■'events prow on the same stem with persons : are 
sul)-|)ersons." The larper iunn])er of the earlv 
sittlers of Rfickford came froiu Xew Enjjlaml. 
Some emigrated from Xew York and other states. 
hut the Xew Enpland element iiredominated. 
These pioneers im|)rcssed their pir-.. m.-ilil v upon 

this connnunily. .•md it has remained until this 
day. The .Xew Enyianders. in their native home, 
were a homo.ijeneous race : even the Chinese were 
scarcely more so. With the exception of a few 
Ihisjuenot families, who came from the old world 
at the close of the seventeenth century, and who. 
from religious symiiathy and other causes, were 
easily jjrafted (ju the primeval vine, they were 
all descendants of I-jiirlish stock. 

Industry, thrift, and a high sense of personal 
honor are prominent traits in the typical son of 
Xew England. Soil and climate determine in 
some measure the character of a people. The 
rocky soil of New England refjuircd the hus- 
bandman to practice the virtue of industry. In a 
s])eech given at a dinner of the Pilgrim .Society 
in Plymouth, in 1855. Wendell Philii])s gave this 
unique characterization of the Puritans: "How 
true it is that the Puritans originated no new 
truth. How true it is. also. Mr. President, that 
it is not truth which agitates the world. I'lato, 
in the groves of the .\cademy. soundetl on and 
on to the utiuost depth of |)hilosophy, but .Vthens 
was quiet. Calling around him the choicest 
minds of Cirecce. he pointed out the worthlessncss 
of their altars and the sham of ])ul)lic life, but 
Athens was quiet. — it was all speculation. When 
Socrates walked the streets of .\thens. and. cpies- 
tioning everyday life, struck the altar till the 
faith of the passer-by faltered, it came close to 
action, and immediately they gave him hemlock, 
for the city was turned upside down. I might 
find a better illustration in the streets of 
Jerusalem. What the Puritans gave the world 
was not thought, but action. luiro])e had ideas, 
but she was letting T dare not wait upon I 
would, like the cat in the adage. The Puritans, 
with native ])luck. launched out into the deep sea. 
Men. who called themselves thinkers, had been 
creeping along the Mediterranean, from headland 
to headland, in their timidity: the Pilgrims 
launched boldly out into the .Atlantic and trusted 
(iod. That is the claim they have upon pos- 
terity. It was action that made them what they 

That which is pinxhascd at the greatest cost 
is usually the most highly treasured : and thus 
the inelustrious farmer and artisan became frugal. 
It was a point of honor with a true Xew Eng- 
lander to maintain his family and pay his debts. 
This he could not do except by a persevering in- 
dustry, and a metliodical and prudent manage- 
ment of his affairs. He must be economical if he 
would be generous, or even just, for extrava- 
gance sooner or later weakens the sense of moral 
obligation. These traits of industry and thrift 
were pleasantly satirized many years ago bv a 
southern writer in the following paragrajih : "We 
of the south are luistaken in the character of 
these peo])le. when we think of them only as 


peddlers in horn flints and bark nutmegs. Their 
energy and enterprise are directed to all objects, 
great and small, within their reach. At the fall 
of a scanty rivulet, they set up their little manu- 
factory of wooden buttons or combs : they plant 
a barren hillside with broomcorn, and make it into 
brooms at the bottom, and on its top they erect 
a windmill. Thus, at a single spot, you may set 
the air, the earth and the water all working for 
them. But, at the same time, the ocean is 
whitened to its extremities with the sails of their 
ship, and the land is covered with their works 
of art and usefulness." 

The early New Englanders have been charged 
with coldness and severity of manner. For an 
austere people, however, they have been easily 
enkindled with noble enthusiasms. There are 
certain traits prominent in their type of character, 
such as their love of order and the habit of self- 
control, which hasty observers have mistaken for 
tokens of a want of earnestness. PiUt seldom, if 
ever, has there been a more sublime rage than 
was shown near Boston, in April, 1775, and for 
eight years thereafter. The accusation most fre- 
quently repeated against those stalwart people is 
that of religious intolerance. Christian charity, 
however, has been a slow and painful evolution 
through the centuries ; and the New Englander 
was but a sharer in the world-wide spirit of in- 
tolerance. Perhaps they held their spinal columns 
too rigidly erect, and carried their heads too high 
to view with tender sympathy the weak and sinful 
world about them. Nevertheless, they bore aloft 
the standard of righteousness before a lawless 
generation, and planted in the new world the 
seeds of patient, practical and self-denying mor- 
ality. Their posterity have sold their birthright 
for the pottage of license and disregard of the 
moral law. Whatever of justice there may be in 
the strictures upon those ancient worthies, it 
may be observed that no Channing, nor Sumner, 
nor Garfield has ever been nttrtured in the atmos- 
phere of a Sunday beer-garden. 

When Judah was in exile in Babylon, her 
prophet, Ezekiel, had a vision of a brighter day. 
".Afterward he brought me again unto the door 
of the house : and behold, waters issues out from 
under the threshold of the house eastward : for 
the forefront of the house stood toward the east, 
and the waters came down from under, from the 
right side of the house, at the south side of the 
altar." This river was primarily a symbol of 
the transformation that should be wrought in 
Canaan to make it a fit dwelling-place for the 
ransomed of the Lord who should return to Zion. 
A feature of Messianic prophecy is the promise 
of the renewal of nature and the reconstruction 
of society. In the prophet's vision the stream of 
blessing proceeded from the temple of Jehovah ; 
and the virtue of its waters was received as thev 

flowed b}' the altar of sacrifice. In the mind of 
the devout Hebrew, Jehovah was always to be 
found in his visible sanctuary. The Lord was 
in his holy temple. So the institutions of an en- 
lightened civilization have proceeded from the 
Christian church, through the sacrifice of the 
noble men and women of the past, who have 
served her with a lover's devotion. The early 
colleges of this land, with very few exceptions, 
were the offspring of the church, and consecrated 
by its prayers. 

It could not be said that every settler of Rock- 
ford belonged to the highest class ; but the de- 
termining force in the community came from 
those high ideals of culture and religion, and 
those habits of economy, industry, integrity and 
temperance which have made the true Englander 
a representative of the best elements of our 
civilization. It was ordained in the beginning 
that seed should bring forth fruit after its kind. 
It is none the less true in social and moral life. 
The moral status of a city or country as truly indi- 
cates the character of its pioneers as the rich, 
ripe fruit of the vineyard tells the secret of its 
seed and culture. 

Hon. R. R. Hitt, in an address delivered in 
August, 1899, before the old settlers of Seward 
in this county, said the statement that the early 
settlers builded wiser than they knew, was a 
reflection upon their intelligence. He insisted that 
the ]5ioneers knew what they were doing, and had 
some conception of the outcome. Certain it is 
that whatever Winnebago county is to-day is 
directly traceable to their agency. They have 
been the architects of her institutions. They laid 
broad and deep the foundation of her industrial, 
educational, moral and religious interests, and 
from time to time they have superintended the 
superstructure.. The large majority of this van- 
guard have ceased from their labors, and their 
works do follow them. As the few who remain 
behold the institutions of learning that have been 
reared in every town, and the resources provided 
for the humblest as well as for the strongest : as 
the>- look over the prairies reclaiined from bar- 
renness and barbarism through their toil and 
privations : as they consider the various religious 
influences that are quietlv softening and humaniz- 
ing the moral nature, they have the satisfaction 
of knowing that they have not lived in vain. 

There is a tendency in this age to remove the 
ancient landmarks which the fathers have set. 
The Sabbath has lost much of its former sanctity. 
Parental authority has become a lost art, or a lost 
virtue : and there has been a widespread insub- 
ordination to constituted authority ; and the mad 
chase for wealth has established false standards 
of worth, and weakened the moral fibre of the 
people. These are not the reflections of a pes- 
simist, but the conclusions of the casual observer. 



If this rciniblic is to endure there imist be a 
speedy return to the homely virtues and the high 
ideals of the fathers. "For wheresoever the car- 
cass is there will the eagles be gathered together." 
In the ( )Id Testament the eagle, i>r the liird of 
prey, represents a foreign army sunimoiied by 
Jehovah to execute his chastisement u])on a cor- 
rni)t nation. The interpretation is this : Wher- 
ever there is corruption there will be inflicted the 
judgments of Him who rules in righteousness. 


Prior til 1846 Chicago was a port of delivery 
only and belonged to the district of Detroit. The 
former city was made a port of entry by act of 
congress in 1846. Some improvements had been 
made in the harbor previous to 1839, when the 
work" was discontinued for want of funds. A bar 
had formed, which extended across the entrance 
of the chamiel. so that vessels could enter only in 
fair weather, and even then with considerable 
difficulty. It was only in response to the un- 
remitting efforts of the citizens, by memorials 
and personal influence, during the years 1839-41, 
that congress, in 1843. appropriated twenty-five 
thousand dollars to continue the improvements. 
The next year thirty thousand additional were 
a|>|)ropriated for the same purpose. Up to this 
time two hundred and forty-seven thousand dol- 
lars had been ex|)ended : yet the harbor was still 
incomplete, if not positively dangerous. John 
Wentworth, Chicago's able representative in con- 
gress, had secured the incorporation of another 
appropriatir)n in tlie river and harbor l)ill of 1846 
by a decisive majority : but Presiilent Polk in- 
teq)osed his veto. 

The president and the minority in congress 
were thus comniitte<l against the |)olicy of river 
and harbor iTuijrovement. This course pro- 
voked general criticism, and especially in the 
west : and resulted in the call for the famous river 
and harbor convention, which met in July, 1847 
It was f>ne of the most notable events of the 
()eriod. Preliminary conferences had been held 
in Chicago. Detroit, Buffalo, and New York, and 
such encouragement had been received that a 
meeting was held in Chicago, November 13, 184^1. 
to complete the arrangements for the convention. 
William Moscly Hall, who took the initiative in 
calling the convention, was, from 1845 to 1848, 
agent at St. Louis of the Lake Steamship Associ- 
ation, connecting by Frink, Walker & Company's 
stage lines, and later by Illinois and Michigan 
canal packets, with Illinois river steamers to St. 

The convention assembled in Chicago July 5. 
1847. Delegates were present from eighteen out 
of the twenty-nine states of the union. New 
^'ork sent over three hundred: and still larger 

numbers came from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, 
Indiana and Illinois. The total attendance was 
estimated to be from six to ten thousand. Many 
of the leading men of the nation were present. 
Among them were Thomas Corwin. \\'illiam 
I '.ebb. Stanly Mathews, Schuyler Colfax, David 
Diidly Field, Thurlow \\'ccd. and Horace Greely. 
Thirty-five counties in Illinois sent delegates. 
Abraham Lincoln was one of the number. Mr. 
Lincoln was the only whig representative in con- 
gress from the state. He at this time made his 
first visit to its commercial metropolis. Giicago 
was then a city of fifteen thousand pi)])ulation. 

The resolutions adopted enthusiastically as- 
serted that it was the right and duty of the 
general government to facilitate commerce by 
improving harbors, and clearing out navigable 
rivers ; and that theretofore ajipropriations made 
for the improvement of inter-oceanic rivers and 
lakes had not Ijcen in fair proportion to those made 
for the benefit of the Atlantic coast. A resolution 
in favor of a railroad from the states to the 
Pacific, introduced by William Moseley Hall, was 
adopted. The closing speech was delivered by 
the president. Edward Bates, which tradition has 
pronounced "'a masterpiece of American oratory 
theretofore unexcelled." No report of this great 
oration has been preserved. 

Winnebago county was re])resented at this con- 
vention by thirty delegates, as follows: Daniel S. 
Maight, .\nson S. Miller. S. G. Armor. Thomas 
D. Robertson. William Hulin. Spencer Post, 
Charles H. Sjjafford. O. Jcwett. J. A. Wilson, 
Jason Marsh. Newton Crawford. Cyrus 1". Mil- 
ler, Goodyear .A. Sanford. W'. A. Dickerman. R. 
R. Comstock, Jesse Bliiui, J. B. Peterson. Austin 
Colton. Shepherd Leach. C. A. Huntington. J. M. 
Wight. L B. Johnson. Samuel Cunningham, 
Horace Miller, F. M. Miller, W. P. Dennis. H. 
Barross. D. Corey. M. H. Regan. Dr. Carpenter. 

The most complete report of this historic con- 
vention is published in Fergus' Historical Series, 
number eighteen, which devotes about two hun- 
dred pages to the subject. Several numbers of 
this work, which have now become rare and valu- 
able, may be foimd in the Rockford public library. 


In pursuance of an act of the general assembly, 
ajiproved I-'ebruary 20, 1847, a constitutional con- 
vention assembled at .Springfield. June 7th of the 
same year. The delegates from \\'innebago 
county were Seldon M. Church and Robert J. 
Cross. The delegates from the neighI)oring 
county of Boone were Dr. Daniel H. Whitney 
and Stephen A'. Hurlbut, both of whom were well 
known in Rockford at an early date. The jour- 
nal of ])roceedings indicale that all of these gen- 
tlemen took part in the iliscussions. Upon the 



organization of the convention Mr. Church was 
appointed a member of the standing committee 
on the organization of departments and offices 
connected with the executive department ; ^Ir. 
Cross, a member of the committee on the bill of 
rights ; ]\Ir. Hurlbut, on the judiciary depart- 
ment, and Dr. Whitney' on incorporations. 

Early in the session Mr. Church introduced the 
following resolution: "Resolved, That the com- 
mittee on the bill of rights be requested to in- 
quire into the expediency of so amending the 
sixth article of the present constitution that it 
shall provide that there shall be neither slavery 
nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise 
than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the 
parties shall have been duly convicted. Nor shall 
any person be deprived of liberty on account of 
color." June 26th Mr. Cross introduced the fol- 
lowing resolution : "Resolved, That the com- 
mittee on elections and the right of suffrage be 
instructed to inquire into the expediency of 
changing the time of holding the elections from 
the first Monday in August to the Tuesday next 
after the first Monday in November, and the 
manner of voting from vive voce to the ballot." 
]\Ir. Cross also led in an effort to secure in the 
new constitution a provision for a state superin- 
tendent of schools, with a liberal salary. 

The convention continued in session luitil 
August 31st, when the new constitution was 
adopted. It was ratified by the people March 6, 
1848, and in force from April ist following. The 
adoption of this new constitution was a notable 
event in the transition from a primitive, pioneer 
state to a great commonwealth. Many changes 
were made. A section, introduced by Air. Hurl- 
but, of Boone, provided for township organiza- 
tion in the counties wherever desired. The time 
of holding the general election was changed from 
August to November ; the method of voting from 
vive voce to the ballot : the judiciary was made 
elective ; and many improvements were made 
along other lines. This constitution remained in 
force until 1870. A new constitution was adopted 
in convention in 1862. but it was rejected by the 
people. The delegate from Winnebago county 
to this convention was Porter Sheldon, a brother 
of C. \\'. Sheldon, of Rockford. 


January 16. 1836. a charter was granted to 
the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad Company 
to construct a railroad with a single or double 
track from Galena to Chicago. The capital stock 
was to be one hundred thousand dollars, with the 
privilege of increase to a sum not exceeding one 
million dollars. William Bennett, Thomas Drum- 
mond, J. C. Goodhue. Peter Semple, J. M. 
Turner, E. D. Tavlor and T- B. Thomas, Jr., were 

made commissioners for receiving subscriptions 
to the capital stock. At that time Galena was the 
leading village of this western country. This 
fact explains the precedence given to that name 
in the title of the road. The company was given 
three years in which to commence operations. 
Either animal or steam power might be used. The 
charter was obtained mainly through the influence 
of Ebenezer Peck and T. W. Smith. The Galena 
& Chicago Union was the first railroad chartered 
to be built from Chicago, upon which work was 
immediately begun. The road became an im- 
portant factor in the great transportation system 
of Chicago, as well as towns along the line. 

Thirteen months after the charter was granted, 
the survey of the proposed route was begun by 
an engineer, James Seymour, and was extended 
from the foot of North Dearborn street as far as 
the Des Plaines river. Work was suspended in 
June, 1838, but resumed the following year, and 
piles were driven along the line of Madison 
street, and stringers placed upon them. It soon 
became evident, however, that Chicago's financial 
strength was not equal to her ambition, and the 
enterprise was temporarily abandoned. The sus- 
pension of operations was a source of profound 
regret to the citizens of the Rock River valley, 
who had made several attempts to obtain better 
connection with Chicago, first by means of the 
contemplated road, and later by canal. These 
schemes did not prove feasible, and other plans 
were substituted. 

The agitation was continued in Winnebago 
county for several years. The first railroad meet- 
ing in Rockford was held November 28, 1845. 
Anson S. Miller was chosen chairman and Seldon 
M. Church, secretary. The meeting was ad- 
dressed bv Hon. iNIartin P. Sweet. It was re- 
solved that those counties interested in the con- 
struction of a railroad from Galena to Chicago be 
recommended to send delegates to a convention 
to be held in Rockford. January 7, 1846, for the 
purpose of taking measures for the construction 
of the road at the earliest possible time. Jason 
Marsh, T. D. Robertson, and William Hulin were 
appointed a corresponding committee to carry out 
the object of the meeting. The following dele- 
gates were appointed to attend the convention 
from Winnebago county : Horace Miller, A; C. 
Gleason, Robert Barrett, Harvey Gregory, Robert 
J. Cross, Asa Farnsworth, Stephen Mack, 
Thomas B. Talcott, Leman Pettibone. Guy 
Hulett, Snvder J. Fletcher, Alonzo Hall, Daniel 
B. Baker,' E. S. Cable. Harvey Woodruflf. 
Joseph Manchester, George Haskell, Willard 
Wheeler, E. H. Potter, Newton Crawford, J, C. 
Goodhue, S. M. Church, Anson ^Miller, Jason 
^larsh, and T. D. Robertson. 

December 5, 1845, a meeting was held in Chi- 
cago to select delegates to the Rockford conven- 


PAST ANT) l'ki:SI-:\T OI" W l.Wl-.r.ACO COUXTV. 

tion. Mayor A. Garrett presided, aiul Isaac X. 
Arnokl was secretary. Tlie meetinj:; was ad- 
dressed by J. Y. Scamnion, of Cliicago, and Wil- 
liam lialdwin. of I'.oston. The followiiijj delc- 
fjates were chosen to attend the convent ion at 
Ki)ckfi)rd: Isaac .\. .\rnold, J. V. ."^caninion. J. 
1>. I'". Rnssell. Mark Skinner. Thomas D\er. K. 
\V. Tracy. John Danlin. Stei)lien 1-". dale. Wil- 
liam H. Ilrown. Walter L. Xewberry. William E. 
Jones, iJryan W. Raymond, 1". C. Sherman, Wil- 
liam Jones, Mayor A. Clarrctt. Meetings were 
held at ISelvidere. December 20th, and at Free- 
port. December 25th, for the selection of dele- 
jrates to the convention. 

The convention was held .ii Rockford Jann- 
ary 7, 1S46. Delejjates were present from the 
counties i)roposed to be traversed by the line. 
Cook comity sent si.xteen delejfates ; De Kalb, 
one ; McHenry. fifteen ; Rock, three ; Ogfle, eighty ; 
Hoone. forty-two;, one; Kane, fifteen; 
Stephenson, forty ; Winnebago, one hundred ; 
Jo Daviess, six; a total of three hundred and 
nineteen delegates. It will be observed that Win- 
nebago, and i)robably other comities, sent a larger 
delegation than had been authorized by the pre- 
liminary meeting. The convention was called to 
order at twelve o'clock by T. D. Robertson, who 
nominated T. X. .\rnold for teiiii)orary chairman. 
Mr. Robertson was chosen secretary. i)ro teiii. 
The committee a|)pointed to nominate perniaiieiit 
ofJicers jireseiited the following rejiort : Thonias 
Drummond. of Jo Daviess, jiresident ; William II. 
Hrown, of Cook; Joel Walker, of lioone; 
Spooner Ruggles, of Ogle; Elijah Wilcox, of 
Kane, vice-presidents ; T. D. Robertson, of Win- 
nebago ; J. ii. Russell, of Cook; S. P. Hyde, of 
Mcllenry, secretaries. 

The president, on taking the chair, addressed 
the meeting <m the great im])ortance of the out- 
come to northern Illinois and the northwest, and 
expressed the hope that all their transactions 
might be characterized by an intelligent view of 
the situation. J. Y. Scamnion. of Cook, oflfercd 
a resolution that a committee of one from each 
countv be ajipointed to re|)ort resolutions which 
would express the views of the convention. The 
chair appointed the following committee: J. Y. 
Scanimon. of Cook; (icorge T. Kasson, of Mc- 
Henry ; Charles S. Hempstead, of Jo Daviess ; 
M. G. Dana, of Ogle; James S. Waterman, of 
DeKalb ; William H. Ciilman. of Pioonc ; [ohn A. 
Clark, of .Stephenson; .\. 1!. Wells, of Kane; S. 
M. Church, of Winnebago; E. (i. Fisher, of Wis- 
consin Territory. Walter E. .Xewberry. of Chi- 
cago, otYered the fallowing: "Resolved, If a satis- 
factory arrangement can be made with the |)resent 
holders .if the stock of the ( ialena & Chicago 
I'nion Railroad Company, that the members of 
this convention will use all honorable measures to 
obtain .subscriptions to the stock of said com- 

.\n animated debate followed, and after a full 
discussion of the powers of the charter and pos- 
sible benefits, the resolution was adopted by an 
overwhelming vote. 

The following resolutions, presented by J. 
^'olmg Scamnion. in behalf of the coniiiiittce ap- 
pointed for that purpose, were adojited without 
a dissenting vote : 

"Resolved, That the wants of the farmers and 
the business men of northern Illinois require the 
immediate construction of a railroad from Gii- 
cago to (ialena. That the value of farms ni)oii 
the route wonUl he doubled by the construction 
of the road, and the convenience of the in- 
habitants immeasural)ly i)rofited thereby. 

"Resolved, That in order to accomplish the ob- 
ject of this convention, it is indispensably neces- 
sary that the inhabitants and owners of property 
between (ialena and Chicago should come for- 
ward and subscribe to the stock of the proposed 
railroad to the extent of their ability; and that 
if each farmer ni»on the route shall take at least 
one share of the stock ( (Jiie hundred dollars) the 
coiiii)letioii of the road would be placed beyond 

This action enkindled enthusiasm along the 
entire line, but before the necessary subscriptions 
had been secured. Messrs. Townsend and Mather, 
who owned the original charter, otTered the same, 
together with the land and such improvements as 
had alread\- been made, to the citizens of Chicago, 
for the sum of twenty thousand dollars. The 
terms contem])lated the payment of the entire sum 
in stock of the new company ; ten thousand dol- 
lars immcdiatelv after the election and organiza- 
tion of the board of directors, and the remaining 
ten thousand dollars on the completion of the road 
to Rock river, or as soon as dividends of six per 
cent, had been earned. This proposition was ac- 
cepted. The i)urcliasers subscribed from their 
own means for the expense of the survey on De- 
cember 6, 1846, and the following year the work 
was begun, under the su]iervision of Richard P. 

It was decided to open subscription books at 
Chicago and at (Ialena. as well as the several set- 
tlements through which the road was to pass. 
The task of canvassing among the farmers be- 
tween the jiroposed termini was undertaken by 
William P.. Ogden. J. Young Scamnion solicited 
funds in Chicago, but the subscriptions came in 
slowly. ( )nly twenty thousand dollars were ob- 
tained at the t)utset from all the real estate men 
and others who might have been supi)osed to 
have been especially interested. Certain business 
men in Chicago opposed the construction of the 
road on the ground that it might divert business 
from Chicago to other jioints along the line. Mr. 
( )g(len met with better success in the rural dis- 
tricts. Even the women were willing to undergo 
many i)rivations of a per.sonal character, that they 



mig-ht assist in the construction of an iron high- 
way, which they behaved would prove of great 
benefit to the succeeding generations. The citi- 
zens of Rockford and farmers in the adjoining 
districts made hberal subscriptions to stock. John 
A. Holland and'T. D. Robertson were the most 
active local promoters of the enterprise. 

The original ])lan was to secure as large a local 
subscription to the capital stock as possible, and 
then apply to eastern capitalists for such advances, 
either in the form of subscriptions to capital stock 
or loans, as might be found necessary. The in- 
terest in the enterprise, however, was such that 
by April i. 1848, one hundred and twenty-six 
subscribers had taken three hundred and fifty-one 
thousand and eight hundred dollars' worth of 
stock. It was therefore concluded that the road 
should be constructed and owned by residents of 
the territory through which it was to pass. It was 
determined, however, to interview friends of the 
project in the east, to obtain such suggestions as 
their experience in railroad matters might enable 
them to give. Eastern capitalists advised the con- 
struction of the road as far as the subscription 
might be available ; and later, if money were 
needed, it might be obtained in the east. There 
was another factor in the problem. Illinois was 
burdened with an enormous debt, and repudiation 
had been imminent. Eastern capitalists were 
therefore not prompt in response to calls for loans 
to be expended in internal improvements. 

In September. 1847, a corps of engineers was 
engaged for surveys and work was begun. Un- 
expected obstacles were encountered, and it was 
impossible for the directors to make the first con- 
tract for construction until near the close of the 
year. Contracts for the grading and bridging of 
twenty-five additional miles were made in March, 
1848. Meanwhile, in February, 1847, an amended 
charter had been secured, under the terms of 
which a new board of directors was elected April 
5th of the following year. Changes were sub- 
sequently made as follows : Thomas D. Robertson, 
of Rockford. was elected director, vice Allen 
Robbins, resigned, April 5, 1849; Dexter A. 
Knowlton, of Freeport, vice J- Y, Scammon. re- 
signed, in 1850. 

The canvass for subscriptions made along the 
line by Mr. Ogden was subsequently supple- 
mented by Charles Walker, Isaac N. Arnold, 
John Locke Scripps and John B. Turner. In 
1848 B. ^^'. Raymond and John B. Turner visited 
the seaboard to enlist eastern support in the 
project. The journey was not as successful as 
they had hoped ; yet they reported to Chicago 
subscriptions for fifteen thousand dollars' worth 
of stock and the promise of a loan of seven thou- 
sand dollars additional. The financial success of 
the enterprise seemed to be so far assured by this 
time that the management purchased a limited 
amount of rolling-stock. 

Mr. Ogden, the president of the company, and 
also a member of the city council of Chicago, en- 
deavored in the latter capacity to secure the pas- 
sage of an ordinance giving the company the right 
of way into the city, with other incidental privi- 
leges. The ordinance failed to pass, but the road 
was granted the privilege of constructing a tem- 
]iorary track, in order to facilitate the hauling of 
necessary material through the city. The first 
civil engineer of the reorganized company was 
John \^an Xortwick, and in June, 1848, his as- 
sistant, George W. Waite, drove the first grading 
peg, at the corner of Kinsie and Halstead 

In September, 1848, the directors purchased 
two engines from eastern companies. The first, 
the Pioneer, arrived in Chicago, October loth 
following. They were clumsy in appearance and 
workmanship : but they rendered efficient service. 
The Pioneer was unloaded from the brig Buf- 
falo, on the Sunday following its arrival in Chi- 
cago. It proved to be a memorable purchase. At 
first it ran simply as a motor for hauling ma- 
terial for construction: but December 15, 1848, 
it started from Chicago at the head of the first 
train which left the city over the four miles of 
track. In the rear of the Pioneer were six 
freight cars, extemporized into passenger coaches. 
The engineer in charge was John Ebbert. As 
the road developed Mr. Ebbert was promoted 
until he became master mechanic of the road. His 
death occurred in Chicago, August 21, 1899, at 
the age of eighty-five years. The first engineer, 
however, who ran the Pioneer as far west as 
Rockford was I. D. Johnson. In 1854 Mr. John- 
son was married to ]\Iiss Delia, a daughter of 
Samuel Gregory. To them were born six chil- 
dren, three of whom survived the father. Mr. 
Johnson died at his home in Chicago. February 
24, 1899, and was buried in Rockford. He was 
a man of straightforward character, and as an 
engineer he was careful and courageous. The 
Pioneer was on exhibition at the world's Colum- 
bian exposition in 1893. under the charge of its 
former master Engineer Ebbert, and attracted 
great attention as an example of primitive ideas 
in locomotive construction. It is now on exhibit 
at the Field Columbian Museimi. 

The line was extended to Elgin, forty miles 
west, in January, 1850. Nearly one hundred and 
sixty-five thousand dollars had been expended 
for construction up to that time. The rolling- 
stock was then an object of admiration; but it 
is now only of interest as a relic of the day of 
small things. The track was laid as far west as 
Belvidere in the spring of 1852. On IMonday, 
August 2, 1852, a train on the Galena & Chicago 
Union railroad arrived in East Rockford. Its 
advent was signalized by the ringing of bells and 
the firing of cannon. The iron horse was 
greeted by the populace as the successor of the 


horse ami \va,t;nn ami oxcii ami ilrivcr and whip. 
From tliat day Rock ford ])cgan to make rapid 
strides in wealth, population, and commercial im- 
portance ; and the I'^orum took the llattering unc- 
tion to its .>;oul that Chicago and Galena might 
be soon '■looking this way with a jealous eye 
lest they become eclipsed in greatness by the city 
of the Rock river valley." 

r.y the year 1857 quite an extension of the line 
liad been completed. A double track had been 
extended thirty miles west, as far as Turner Junc- 
tion, and large a<lditioiis to the rolling stock had 
been acquired. The expense thus incurred in- 
creased the total up to that time to nine million 
dollars. Before the close of 1853 the company 
had extended its main line to Freeport, one hun- 
dred and twenty miles from Chicago. Notwith- 
standing the fact that there was no little en- 
thusiasm in Galena over the extension of the line 
to that i)oint. Fate decreed that (Galena should 
be connected with Chicago by another line. The 
Galena & (."hicago L'nion sold its right of way to 
the Illinois Central. It has been said that had the 
great Central system made a connection with the 
Rock ford at that early date the population of the 
city would have been materially increased. At the 
close of 1858 the Galena & Chicago Union Com- 
l)any was free from a lloating debt ; but it had a 
fimded indebtedness of three million seven hun- 
dred and eighty-three thousand and fifteen dol- 

The system owned and operated by the Chicago 
& Northwestern Railway Company, as it exists 
at the ])resent time, is a consolidation of not less 
than forty-five distinct roads. June 2. 1864. was 
effected a consolidation of the Galena & Chicago 
Union and the Chicago & Northwestern com- 
l>anies. under the name of the Chicago & North- 
western Railway Company. The old Galena & 
Chicago Union had been legitimately built, and 
was never bonded : and when it was purchased 
bv the Chicago & Northwestern, the stock held by 
the old subscribers in the Galena road was ex- 
changed for stock in the new com])any. The con- 
solidatifin was effected by the late Samuel J. Til- 
den, one of the greatest railroad lawyers of his 
time. The Galena had been a profitable road ; 
and its consolidation was one of the first in north- 
ern Illinois. 


Marshall II. Regan was born in Rochester, New 
^'ork, and his early life was spent in his native 
state and in Canada. Mr. Regan came to Rock- 
ford in 1842. He engaged in the lumber trade, 
in which he spent his active business life. He 
was also a contractor and builder, did a large 
i)usiness, and accumulated a competence. Mr. 
Regan was the architect of the old First Congre- 

gational church, on the corner of First and Wal- 
nut streets. He was a ])rominent citizen in early 
Rockford. and a Democrat in politics. He died 
ill 1875. 

James B. Howell settled in Rockford, No- 
vember 8, 1843. His business was that of a wool- 
carder and cloth-dresser. When the first dam 
was completed, Mr. Howell operated a carding 
and fulling machine on the south side of State 
street. He erected a building in 1846. and began 
business in 1848, and continued therein until the 
dam went out in 1851. He then removed his 
machinery to New Milford. He returned to Rock- 
ford. and some years later he formed a partner- 
ship with his brother-in-law, M. H. Regan, in 
the lumber business. After Huntington & 
iiarncs' book store was destroyed by fire, Mr. 
1 lowell engaged in the book trade. His stand 
was the east store in Metropolitan Hall block, 
which for many years was occu])ie(l by B. R. 
Waldo, in the same line of trade. Mr. Howell 
was a consistent member of the State .Street 
Baptist church. 

Benjamin A. Rose was torn in Philadelphia in 
1 81 7. In early manhood he removed to Chemung 
county. New York, and in October, 1844, he 
came to Rockford. Mr. Rose was county clerk 
from 1847 to 1849. He was one of the clerical 
force in the banking house of Robertson & Hol- 
land, and remained in the bank one year after re- 
moving to his farm in 1855. Mr. and Mrs. Rose 
were charter members of the Second Congrega- 
tional church. Mr. Rose died in 1883. Mrs. 
Rose died in December, 1896. 

Dr. Lucius Clark became a resident of Rock- 
ford in 1845. T^r. Clark was born in Amherst, 
Massachusetts, June 10, 1813. He was the third 
in a family of seven sons, five of whom became 
physicians. Dr. Clark was a member of the 
.American Medical Association, and of the Illinois 
State Medical Society. During the war he was 
in the field a short time as president of the board 
of examining surgeons for the state of Illinois. 
He was for many years a trustee of Rockford 
seminary. In 1836 Dr. Clark married Julia A. 
.\dams, of Hinsdale, Massachusetts. She died in 
1 861. In 1864 Dr. Clark married Charlotte M. 
Townsend, of this city. His death occurred No- 
vember 5, 1878. Dexter Clark. M. D., followed 
his brother Lucius to Rockford, where he re- 
sided until his death, except the time spent in 
California, where he went in 1850. Dr. Dexter 
Qark was for many years a prominent member 
of the -Second Congregational church, and su- 
perintendent of its Sunday-school. Another 
brother. Dr. E. N. Clark, settled at Beloit ; and 
a fourth brother. Dr. .Asaliel Clark, resided at De- 
troit, Michigan. Dr. Lucius Clark had two sons 
who succeeded him in the practice of medicine: 
Dexter Selwvn, ami Lucius Armor. Dr. D. Sel- 


wvn Clark died February 12, 1898. No citizen of 
Rockford had a higher sense of professional and 
personal honor, and his death was universally 
lamented. The death of Dr. L. A. Clark occurred 
July 23, 1899, in the house in which he was born 
fifty years before. He had a wide reputation as 
an expert surgeon. During his residence on the 
Pacific coast he was employed as a steamship sur- 
geon for some years, and was a passenger on the 
first voyage of the Colema. which, after long 
service, foundered a few vears ago. Dr. Clark 
was also surgeon for the Illinois Railroad Com- 
pany, which position he held at the time of his 
death. For more than half a century the Clark 
family was represented in the medical profession 
of Rockford. In the death of Armor Clark there 
passed awa}' the last of this historic familv of 

C. A. Huntington came to Rockford in 1845. 
He had left his family in July at Racine, Wis- 
consin, until he could find a desirable place for 
settlement. November 5th of that year he be- 
gan his first term of school in Rockford in a 
building owned by H. R. Maynard, which stood 
on the site of the Masonic Temple. In the fol- 
lowing year L. B. Gregory retired from teaching, 
and Mr. Huntington succeeded him as teacher 
in the old courthouse building on North First 
street, where he remained until the fall of 1848. 
Mr. Huntington then taught in the old Baptist 
church on North Main street. In the autumn of 
1849 Mr. Huntington was elected school com- 
missioner, and served eight years. In that same 
year he also opened the first book store in Rock- 
ford, on the site of the Third National Bank. 
He subsequently removed to the corner store in 
Laomi Peake's block, where the Reeling's drug 
store now stands. There he and Robert Barnes 
conducted a book store, and a book bindery on the 
second floor. November 27. 1857, this block was 
destroyed by fire. Huntington &. Barnes carried 
a stock of eleven thousand dollars. Mr. Hunt- 
ington resided in Rockford until 1864, when he 
removed to California, where he died a few 
months ago. 

Hon. W'illiam Brown was born in Cumberland, 
in the north of England, June I, 1819. In 1846 
he became a citizen of Rockford. During his first 
winter in the west he taught a district school. 
Judge Brown was honored with several public 
offices. He was chosen a justice of the peace 
in 1847. In 1852 he was elected state's attorney 
for the district comprising Stephenson, Winne- 
bago and Jo Daviess counties, and served three 
years. At the expiration of that time he was 
elected mayor of Rockford. In 1857 Judge 
Brown formed a partnership with ^^^iliam Lath- 
rop, which continued three years. He then be- 
came a partner with the late H. W. Taylor, with 
whom he was associated until 1S70. In 1864 he 

was elected a member of the legislature as a re- 
publican. Judge Brown was first elected judge 
to fill the vacancy caused by the promotion of 
Judge Sheldon to the supreme bench. He was 
subsequently elected for three full terms. His 
career on the bench covered twenty j-ears. Judge 
Brown died January 15, 1891. 

Hiram H. Waldo was born in Elba, Genesee 
county. New York, November 23, 1827. He 
came to Rockford in 1846, when he was nine- 
teen years of age, and completed his early 
education in the district schools. He studied 
in summer, and taught in the winter, for several 
years, until 1851. Mr. Waldo taught in the Red- 
ington district, in the old First Baptist church, 
Cherry Valley, Guilford, Harlem, in the basement 
of the First Methodist church as assistant to See- 
ly Perry, and as assistant to C. A. Huntington, on 
First street. Mr. Waldo subsequently spent two 
years in Chicago, where he secured a clerkship in 
the postoffice, under Postmaster Dole, and was 
promoted to the superintendency of western dis- 
tribution. Mr. Waldo remained a short time under 
Postmaster Isaac Cook. He returned to Rock- 
ford when Charles I. Horsman became postmas- 
ter the second time. Mr. Horsman did not give 
his personal attention to the office, and Mr. Wal- 
do assumed this responsibility. Mr. Waldo 
opened a book store in 1855, in a frame building 
which rested on poles, where the Grand Union 
Tea Store now stands. He remained there four 
}'ears, and then removed into his present stand, 
in 1859, where for forty-six years he has done 
business without interruption. He is the only 
merchant now in business of all those engaged in 
trade when he began. Mr. Waldo, however, was 
not the only early book dealer on the west side. 
John M. Perry, a brother of Seely Perry, had a 
book store on the site now occupied by Whee- 
lock's crockery store. Mr. Perry sold this stock 
to J. W. Seccomb. Mr. Waldo served as school 
commissioner of Winnebago county from 1857 to 
1859, and again from 1863 to 1865. Upon the 
failure of the Second National Bank, Mr. Waldo 
was appointed receiver by Commissioner Eckles, 
and paid eighty-five per cent, of the indebtedness. 

L. F. Warner was a native of Connecticut. He 
read law with Hon. Reuben Booth, who had been 
governor of the state. Mr. Warner came to 
Rockford in November, 1848. He was always a 
democrat, and was a delegate to the famous con- 
vention at Charleston, in i860, which resulted 
in a breach in the party, and the nomination of 
Stephen A. Douglas for the presidency at a later 
convention. Mr. Warner seiwed Rockford as 
city attorney several terms. He died in 1904. 

Melancthon Starr is an honored name in Rock- 
ford history. Mr. Starr was born in Albany, 
New York, April 14, 1816. He removed to Rock- 
ford in 1850. He first conducted a dry goods 



business on the old Second Xational Hank corner. 
He was assignee of Charles I. Horsnian's bank 
when it failed. In 1855 Mr. Starr became inter- 
ested in what was afterward called the Winneba- 
go Xational Bank. This banking house was 
founded in 1848 by Thomas D. Robertson and 
John A. Holland. Later John S. Coleman be- 
came a partner, and the (irm was Robertson, Cole- 
man & Co. On the death of Mr. Holland, Mr. 
Starr was admitted to the firm ; and after Mr. 
Coleman's death the firm was Robertson 
& Starr, which continued until the organi- 
zation of the Winnebago Xational Bank, 
in 1865. Mr. Robertson was president, and 
Mr. Starr was vice-president until his death, 
.\ beautiful trait was his sympathy for his 
old friend, tlie late Ephraim Wyman, wlio 
in his old age was reduced to very moderate cir- 
ctuustanccs. Xcarly every Sunday Mr, Starr 
visited his friend, and cheered his last years with 
liis sympathy and purse. Mr. Starr was a Uni- 
tarian, and was a communicant of the local 
church until its membership disbanded, when he 
became a regular attendant at the church of the 
Christian Union. Mr. Starr died, universally 
esteemed, Xovember 29, 1885. 

John Edwards was born at Acton, Massachu- 
setts, August 18, 1800. He was in business in 
Lowell before his removal to the west. Mr. Ed- 
wards was living at Alton, Illinois, during the 
excitement which resulted in the death of Rev. 
Elijah P. Lovejoy, America's martyr to free soil 
and free speech. On that occasion Mr. Edwards 
took an honorable and decided position in favor 
of the freedom of the press ; and stood on guard 
at Mr. Lovejoy's bed, with a loaded musket in 
his hand, the night before that brave abolitionist 
was murdered by the pro-slavery mob. Mr. Ed- 
wards came to Rockford in 1850. He was the 
first dealer in ])ine lumber in the city. His first 
yard was near Peter Sanies' wagon factory, near 
the Xorthwestern Railroad track. Mr. Edwards 
encouraged the development of the Rockford 
water-power ; was interested in the work of the 
seminary, and during his last years lie was its 
agent. His death occurred June 14, 1871. 


Daniel S. Haight, the founder of East Rock- 
ford, like his west side rival, did not remain in 
Rockford to see the fruition of his early settle- 
ment. Mr. Haight removed from the village 
in the winter of 1847-48, and settled in Texas, 
near .'^hrcveport. Louisiana. He revisited Rock- 
ford in 1857. The date of his death is unknown 
to his old friends in Rockford. There is a tradi- 
tion, which is commonly accepted, that he was a 
soldier in the Confederate army, and that he died 
after the Civil war at Fort Worth, Texas. No 

worthy record of his life and work has been pre- 
served ; but next to Mr. Kent, his name is most 
])n)niincnt in early history. 


ihe gold e.xciteiuent drew many to California 
in 1849-50. Among those who went from Rock- 
ford was Giles C. Hard. A. C. Spafford, D. K, 
Lyon, H. B. Potter, Dexter Clark, William Ham- 
ilton, H. H. Silsby, Isaac Rowley. Obadiah E. 
Lamb, a Mr. Smith, a Mr. Lewis, Sylvester Rob- 
inson, and Henry L. Simpson. Mr. Robertson 
died at .Mud .Springs, forty-five miles east of Sac- 
ramento, a few days after his arrival. Mr. Rob- 
inson was a native of Connecticut, and came to 
Rockford in 1847. He was the father of Mrs. 
E. P. Catiin and H. H. and X. S. Robinson. Mr, 
Simpson died while on his return home, at Peru, 
Illinois, in March, 1851. His remains were 
brought to Rockford for burial, Mr. Simpson 
was the father of E. L. Simpson and Mrs. Z. B. 
.Sturtevant. He came to Rockford about 1839. He 
built a brick house which still stands on Leonard 
Schmauss' lot on Xorth Second street ; and part 
of another brick house on the southwest corner 
of First and Market streets. Mr. Simpson was 
engaged in the business of blacksmithing. He 
owned a one-half interest in a gristmill at Cherry 
X'alley, and pro])crty in Rockford. Mr. Lamb 
died in California. As in all similar ventures, 
some were successful : while others received no 
adc(|uate returns for their journey into this far 

i;.mm.\n'i;el cmurch. 

The Rt. Rev. Philander Chase, D. D.. first 
bishop of the diocese of Illinois, made his first 
e|)iscopal visitation to Rockford. August 28, 
1841. Prior to this time there had been no public 
services of the Episcopal church held in the 
county. There had been only a very few families 
of the faith who had .settled in Rockford. Levi 
Moulthrop, M. D., was the first churchman who 
came into this county. 

The first church family who settled in the 
county was that of Sam]>son George, who came 
from Yorkshire, England. They arrived in the 
settlement of Rockford, September 24, 1836. The 
family consisted of Mr. George, his wife, Ann, 
and five children, two daughters and three sons. 
The children had received baptism in England. 
Mr. George brought a letter from their parish 
priest, commending the family to the spiritual 
care of any clergyman of the American church 
into whose jurisdiction they might come. The 
death of Mr. George occurred five weeks after 
the arrival of the family in Rockford. There was 
no priest nearer than the missionary at Galena, 



he could not be definitely located, owing to the 
extent of territory under his charge. Thus the 
first churchman was buried without the offices of 

During the next few years several other fami- 
lies of the church settled in the county. Among 
these were Jonathan W'eldon, Chauncy Ray and 
John W. Taylor. The former two settled on 
farms about six miles southwest of the town, and 
the latter remained in the village, and engaged 
in the dry goods business. 

At the Bishop's first visitation the services were 
held in the old courthouse building on North 
First street, which served a similar purpose for 
other households ot faith. 

August 4, 1842, the bishop made a second visi- 
tation to Rockford. The services morning and 
afternoon were held in the same building as in the 
preceding year. The sacrament of the holy eu- 
charist, baptism and confirmation were adminis- 
tered. The bishop preached two sermons. 
Aside from these yearly visitations by the bishop, 
the church families in and around Rockford were 
without the sacraments of the church, except an 
occasional visit by some missionary priest from 
a distant point. 

In 1845, the Rev. Alfred Lauderback, of New 
York State, was appointed by the domestic board 
of missions to the missionary field of northern 
Illinois and southern Wisconsin, with Belvidere 
and Rockford as chief points of location. 
This fact meant more regular and fre- 
quent services for Rockford. The new mis- 
sionary's service was held August 10, 1845. 
Father Lauderback ministered in this sec- 
tion two years, when he was sent to take charge 
of the parish which had been recently organized 
at Galena, Illinois. From this time for several 
years occasional services were held in the village 
by the Rev. Dudley Chase, a son of the bishop, 
and the Revs. Humphrey and Millett, of Beloit, 
Wisconsin ; Pulford, of Belvidere ; Johnston, of 
Pekin, and ]\Iiller, of Bonus, Illinois, the father 
of Orin ]\Iiller, an early Rockford attorney. Ser- 
vices were generally held in the new courthouse. 

The present parish was organized May i, 1849. 
A meeting of the parishioners, both men and 
women, was convened, at which the Rev. Dudley 
Chase presided ; and the parochial organization 
was effected in accordance with the prescribed 
canonical fomi. The articles of association were 
signed by Chauncey Ray, Jonathan Weldon, 
Horace Starkey, Duncan j. Stewart, John Con- 
rad, S. R. Weldon, and Spencer S. Weldon. Up- 
on the organization of the parish the parishioners 
proceeded to the election of a vestry. Those 
elected were : senior warden, Horace Starkey ; 
junior warden. Cliauncey Ray; vestrymen, John 
Conrad, Duncan J. Stewart and S. R. Weldon. 

The Rev. Dudley Chase was called to be the 

first rector. He accepted the call but afterward 
declined, as he preferred to accept a charge in 
Chicago, where he organized the parish of the 
Atonement on the west side, which was afterward 
merged into the cathedral of Saints Peter and 

November 15, 1852, the Rev. Charles Reighley, 
of Chicago, was called to the rectorship of the 
parish. With the consent of the new Bishop, 
Rt. Rev. Henry John Whitehouse, the call was 
accepted, and the first rector entered at once upon 
his work. Bishop Chase had died September 27, 
1852, and had been succeeded by Bishop White- 
house. A lot was purchased on the corner of 
North Church and North streets, for two hundred 
dollars, and a church builuing erected at a cost of 
nineteen hundred dollars. The new church was 
consecrated by Bishop \Miitehouse, August 23, 
185^, "hv the name of Emmanuel Church Rock- 

Succeeding the Rev. Charles Reighley have 
been the following rectors in the order named : 
Revs. Anson Clark, Alichael Schofield, William 
T. Smithett, Thomas Smith, S. B. Duffield. J. E. 
Walton, S. D. Dav, C. S. Percival, F. W. Adams, 
A. ^^^ Snvder, D. C. Peabodv, ^^^•llvs Rede and 
N. B. Clinch. 

The Rev. D. C. Peabody became rector March 
I, 1 886.' During his rectorship the present rec- 
tory was purchased, and the Fairfield Memorial 
Parish House erected, at a cost of forty thousand 
dollars. The latter was the gift of one parishion- 
er, Mrs. Eleanor G. Fairfield, and was erected as 
a memorial to her husband. An additional thirty 
feet of land adjoining the church lot on the west 
was purchased at a cost of sixteen hundred dol- 
lars, and many other permanent improvements 
made in the parish. 


The constitution of 1848 provided for a county 
court, as the successor of the county commission- 
er's court, and authorized the legislature to enact 
a general law. providing for township organiza- 
tion, under which counties might organize, by a 
majority vote of the people. In the early days of 
Illinois as a state, southern ideas and institutions 
dominated the commonwealth. The commission- 
er's form of local government originated in this 
country with the Virginia planters. The sj'S- 
tem of township organization had its origin in 
New England. But the root of this form of local 
government may be traced to the districting of 
England into tithings by King Alfred, in the 
ninth century, to curb the widespread social dis- 
orders which disturbed his realm. The change 
under the second constitution of Illinois was due 
to the influence of New England settlers in the 
northern portion of the state. The Illinois town- 



ship sv.sliiii. Imucvor. is not closely nuuklcil alUi" 
that of the New Fuisjlaiul states. 

The legislature, by two acts ai)i)n)veil I'Vbruary 
12. 1S4V. siipplenieiiteil these two constitutional 
provisions by the necessary legislation. The 
first created a county court, the judges of which 
should be elected on the Tuesday after the first 
Monday in November, 1849. and (|uadrennially 
thereafter, and assume their duties on tlie first 
Monday in December followin«j. There were 
also to be elected at the same time and places, two 
associate justices of the peace, who. with the 
judjjfe. ccjustituted the county court, which suc- 
ceeded the county commissioners" court. 

This county court was shortlived, so far as 
Winnebago covuity was concerned. The second 
statute, also approved February 12, 1840, provid- 
eil that at the next g^eneral election in Xovember. 
1841;. the voters in any county niisjht vote for or 
against township organization. Conse(|uently, at 
the same general election in Xovember. 1S49. tlic 
voters of this county elected both a county court 
to succeed the county commissioners' court ; and 
voted to adopt township organization. Section 
four of the new law provided that if the voters so 
elected, the township organization should be in 
force the first Tuesday in .\pril. 1850. At that 
time the associate justices ceased to be members 
of the county court, under the provision of sec- 
tion six of article seven of the new constitution. 
The associate justices, however, were elected for 
several years as justices of the peace for the 
county at large. 

It may seem, at first thought, that two such 
laws would not have been passed by the legisla- 
ture, as the second might nullify the first. lUit it 
will be observed that the township organization 
system did not become operative unless the peo- 
ple so voted ; hence there was a possibility that 
tliey would not conflict. 

I'rom 1849 to 1855 the clerk of tne county 
court was also clerk of the board of supervisors, 
under section eight of article sixteen of the town- 
shij) organization law. ]\\ virtue of an act of 
I'ebruary 9, 1855. tlie clerk of the county court of 
Winnebago county ceased to be ex-oflficio clerk of 
the Ixiard of supervisors after the first Monday of 
the following .\pril. Under this law Duncan 
Fergus(}n was appointed : and a separate clerk 
of the l)oard was thereafter biennially appointed, 
until the law was repealed. 


The Seconrl Congregational church was orga- 
nized in the autumn f)f 1849. ^^'^h forty-seven 
members. Nearly all ha<l taken letters from the 
first church imder ilate of October i8th. 

The first meeting ])reliminary to organization 
was held October 30. 1849. at the schoolhouse 

in West Rockfonl. This building was standing 
on South Maon street until about two years ago. 
.\ committee of three was chosen to present at a 
future meeting, the articles of faith, covenant and 
rules of the government for the ])roiX)sed church, 
iienjamin .\. Rose. Dexter G. Clark and Thomas 
D. Kolx-rtson constituted this committee. It was 
resolved that the public organization of the 
church should take place November 14th; and 
Samuel J. Russell, Worcester .A.. Dickerman and 
Robert Clow were chosen to make the necessary 

An adjourned meeting was held November 7th. 
.\ resolution was adopted, by which the following 
named ])ersons who were present organized the 
church : Robert Clow, I'urton P. Franklin, 
David D. .\lliiig, Rebecca Ailing, Alexander Pat- 
terson, Helen I'atterson, Ellen Patterson, Jane 
Gordon. 'J'honias D. Robertson, Goodyear A. 
.Sanfonl. Elizabeth H. .Sanford. Worcester A. 
Dickerman, Caroline M. Dickcrmati. Michael 
I'.urns, Deborrah Burns, Samuel I. Russell, Lucy 
Russell, Dexter G. Clark, Benjamin .\. Rose, 
.\ntionettc \\'. Rose. Eliza Han ford, Rebecca 
Spurr. Hariette W. Piatt, Rial K. Town, Clarissa 
Town, Mary ISond. Emily G. .Sanford, Susan G. 
l'"uller, Elizabeth 1!. l-'ield. Hilary .\. Frink. Lcmi- 
ra L. Meyers. Lucy C. Hyde. Sarah D. Hyde, 
Esther Ann Hyde. Henry C. Hyde. (Sershom C. 
Hyde. Alonzo Gorham, Hannah L. (^orham. Mer- 
cv .-\. (jorham, .Ann Levings, Mrs. Elizabeth C. 
Porter, .Vnor Woodruff. Mrs. Eliza Woodruff, 
James lAirter. F^benezer Hyde. Mrs. Barbara Por- 

Thomas D. Robertson, from the committee ap- 
pointed at the former meeting, presented a report 
of articles of faith, covenant and rules of govern- 
ment. This rejiort was accepted and adopted. 
The articles of faith were thoroughly orthodox, 
according to the standard of the time. 

This preliminary organization was completed 
bv tlie election of officers. Rial K. Town and 
.Monzo Gorham were chosen deacons ; Thomas 
D. Robertson, clerk ami treasurer; I'lcnjamin A. 
Rose and .Sanniel J. Russell, jirudential commit- 
tee : Goodyear A. Sanford. Worcester .\. Dick- 
erman and Dexter G. Clark, assessment commit- 

The jniblic organization of this clnirch oc- 
curred Wednesday. Xovember 14. 1849. Pre- 
vious to these formal exercises Mrs. Sarah J. 
Clark, Mrs. E. W. Spalding and Jane C. Hough- 
ton, who bad been included in the original letter 
of dismission from the first church, but were not 
jiresent at the first meeting, were received ; also 
Mrs. Mary Haskell and Miss Eliza Holmes. 

The congregational council was composed of 
the following gentlemen : Rev. Hutchins Taylor, 
m<i(lerator: Rev. Dexter Clary. Beloit : Rev. 
Lewis Benedict, Rockton : Rev. R. M. Pearson, 



Grand DeTour ; Rev. Lansing Porter, Rockford ; 
Horace Hobart, delegate from Beloit. Rev. R. M. 
Pearson was chosen scribe of the council ; prayer 
was offered by Rev. H. Taylor ; and Rev. L. Ben- 
edict preached the sermon. The covenant and 
articles of faith were read by the clerk, and pub- 
licly approved by the church. An address to the 
church and deacons was delivered by Rev. Dexter 
Clary. The council then formally declared the 
Second Congregational church of Rockford to 
be duly and orderly organized. 

Since the mother church had vacated its first 
house of worship on the corner of Church and 
Green streets for the new brick structure on the 
east side, the fomier had been unoccupied. The 
Second church now returned to the house which 
many of its members had abandoned less than 
four years previous. Messrs. Kent and Brink- 
erhoff had failed in business, and the old edifice 
was sold by their assignee to the Second church. 
It was placed on a rock foundation and refitted 
for worship. 

The first pastor of the new church was Rev. 
Lansing Porter. This gentleman had served the 
First church as its pastor a little more than two 
years. The records of the Second church do not 
show that any formal call was extended to Rev. 
Porter. But he assumed this position as soon as 
the organization had been effected November 7, 
1849, ^""i served four years. 

Mr. Porter pursued two years of his college 
course at Hamilton and two years at Wesleyan 
college, and was graduated from the latter in the 
class of 1839. He then took the full three years' 
course in Yale Theological seminary, and a year 
of post-graduate work at Auburn Theological 
seminary. Mr. Porter went to Chicago in 1843, 
and from there he caine to Rockford, when he 
was less than thirty years of age. Mr. Porter's 
first pastorate was that of the First Congrega- 
tional church, Rockford. He is now living at 
Hamburg, New York. 

In 1851 the church was found to be too small, 
and its capacity was increased by the addition of 
forty feet to its length. 

December 31, 1853, Rev. Porter severed his 
pastoral relation. At a meeting held December 
1 6th of the same year, it was voted to extend a 
call to Rev. Joseph Emerson. This call was ac- 
cepted. May 21, 1854, a congregational council 
convened in the church for the transaction of 
business incident to the settlement of the pastor. 
The installation services occurred on the follow- 
ing day. 

Rev. Emerson was a son of Rev. Daniel Emer- 
son ; a cousin of Ralph Emerson, of Rockford, and 
a second cousin of the famous Ralph Waldo Em- 
erson. Joseph Emerson was born in Dartmouth, 
Massachusetts, in 1806, and died at Andover, 
Massachusetts, in 1885. JNIr. Emerson was grad- 

uated from Yale college in 1830, and from An- 
dover Theological seminary, in 1835. He re- 
ceived his ordination in 1836. His pastorate in 
Rockford was eminently successful. He built the 
house on North Church street, where Ralph Em- 
erson now resides. 

The pastorate of Rev. Emerson was signalized 
bv the erection of the second house of w'orship on 
South Church street. July 19, 1855, the society 
voted that it was expedient to take action toward 
building a new church. A committee, consisting 
of D. G. Clark, G. A. Sanford, T. D. Robertson, 
John Edwards and John S. Coleman was ap- 
pointed to carry out the same. In 1856 subscrip- 
tion papers were circulated. A building com- 
mittee was composed of John Edwards, D. G. 
Clark, J. G. jNIanlove, G. A. Sanford, Ralph Em- 
erson and T. D. Robertson. A correspondence 
was opened with Renwick & Auchmuty, a firm 
of architects in New York, and from them was 
received in the summer of 1856 plans and speci- 
fications for the structure. The committee in- 
vited proposals. The most favorable response 
was received from David and James Keyt, of 
Piqua, Ohio. The committee, before letting so 
large a contract, desired to obtain definite infor- 
mation concerning the character and standing of 
the bidders. John Edwards was sent to Piqua to 
make an inquiry. The result of his mission was 
so satisfactory that the contract was let to the 
Messrs. Keyt for the sum of twenty-three thou- 
sand four hundred and seventy-eight dollars and 
seventy-eight cents. 

Work was begun on the building May 17. 1857, 
and was completed in the autumn of 1858. The 
plans provided for a stone porch in front, and a 
lecture room in the rear. Upon signing the con- 
tract, the rear extension was omitted, because the 
committee could not depend upon obtaining 
money to pay for the same ; and still later the 
porch was also abandoned, which reduced the ex- 
pense about fourteen hundred dollars. The 
building committee met great difiiculty in prose- 
cuting "the work, and during its progress the fi- 
nancial panic of 1857 came upon the country. 
It was one of the most severe strains in the money 
market in the history of the country. October 
13th, of that year, the New York banks suspend- 
ed specie payment. The committee had fortu- 
natelv negotiated a loan for six thousand dollars, 
with a gentleman in New Jersey, on the first of 
October. This loan was made, as were nearly all 
the loans on the personal notes of the building 
committee. The loan of four thousand dollars 
was also secured bv a mortgage given by G. A. 
Sanford, T. D. Robertson and W. A. Dickerman, 
on their individual property. The document was 
preserved for many years as a memorial of the 
courage of the builders. 

Farewell services were held in the old church 



on Sunday, Xovcnibr 28tli. Alter this little 
sanctuary had outlived its usefulness in a grow- 
inj^ city, it was donated to the peo])le in Owen 
townshii), where it was again used as a house of 

The new church was dedicated Thursday, De- 
cember 2. 1858. The dedicatory sermon was 
preached by the pastor. This churcii continued 
to be the house of worship for nearly thirty-four 
years, until the spring of 1892. It has been said 
that 1'. r. liliss, the famous gospel singer and 
composer, wrote his best known song, "Mold the 
Fort," in this church. Among the distinguished 
persons who have entertained Rockford au- 
diences from this pul])it are Rev. Lyman .Vbbott, 
D. D., and Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. 

July 30. 1859, Rev. Emerson tendered Iiis res- 
ignation ; and on August 23d an ecclesiastical 
council convened at the church, and dissolved the 
pastoral relation. The church did not long re- 
main without an un(ler-she])herd. At a regular 
meeting of the church December 7, 1859, a call 
was extended to Rev. Jeremiah E. Walton. This 
call was accepted, although there is no record of 
his installation. This pastorate continued until 
December, 1863. 

Mr. Walton graduated from Williams college 
in 1853, and from Hartford seminary in 1856. 
He came to Rockford from Troy, Xew York, 
wlien a young man. full of hojie and enthusiasm. 
Mr. Walton entertained religious views similar 
to those held by the late Horace Bushnell, and 
especially those concerning Christian nurture. 
After his removal from Rockford Rev. Walton 
took orders as a priest in the Episcojjal church. 
He subsequently returned to Rockford, antl be- 
came the rector of Emmanuel church. 

The pipe organ was constructed in 1863. at a 
cost of about two thousand five hundred dollars. 
Rev. M. P. Kinney was called to the pastorate 
August 10, 1864; and an ecclesiastical council 
was convened November 29th. Rev. Frank B. 
Woodbury, D. D., was called Xovember 23, 1870. 
He was succeeded in 1888 by the late Rev. W'al- 
ter Maiming Barrows, D. D. His successors 
have been Rev. W'eslev P. Haskell and Rev. Peter 
M. Sny<ler. 

A magnificent new temple of worship on North 
Church street was dedicated May 8, 1892. 
I'ebruary 20, 1894, this church was destroyed by 
fire. Only the bare walls remained. There were 
valiant Xehemiahs ready to build a second tem- 
ple, which was dedicated December 2, 1895. 

The longest ])astorate was that of the Rev. 
Frank P. Woodbury, who served eighteen years, 
from 1870 to 1888. Only two resident charter 
members are now living; Mrs. Caroline M. Dick- 
erman and Mrs. Emily G. Sanford-Dodd. 

The church property is valued at $100,000. Its 
membership is about 730. 


Three nearly contemporary events contributed 
ti) the progress of Ruckford from the simple vil- 
lage to its more commanding position as a city. 
The advent of the railroad, the first in importance, 
has already been noted. The organization of the 
new water-power coiupany is reserved for later 
paragrai^hs. The third factor was the incorpora- 
tion of Rockford as a city. 

.\s early as 185 1 the citizens realized llial the 
local government was no longer a(le(|uate to meet 
the needs of the rapidly increasing |)opulation. 
In the autunui of that year steps were taken for 
the organization of a city government. In pur- 
suance of a call, signed by Jason Marsh, G. A. 
.Sanford, Willard Wheeler, Isaiah Lynon, George 
W'yatt, Xewton Crawford, C. I. Horsman, W'. A. 
Dickernian. W'. P. Dennis. Jesse Bliim and Wil- 
liam 1 lulin, a meeting was held at the court house 
Xovember 29th. It was deemed advisable at this 
conference to submit the (|uestion of city organi- 
zation io a vote of the citizens. The trustees of 
the town thereupon ordered an election for this 
jjurpose to be held Jaiuiary 3, 1852. There was 
no excitement to call out the voters, as the pros- 
pective change was generally accepted as a matter 
of course. One hundred and nine votes were 
cast for organizing under the general law of 
iS4(). The city government of S])ringfield, Illi- 
nois, was adopted as a basis of organization. 

ihe first election under the new order was held 
April 19, 1852. The candidates for mayor were 
W'illard Wheeler and E. M. Potter. The election 
resulted in the choice of Mr. Wheeler. The 
aldermen elected were : Sumner Damon, First 
ward; E. H. Potter, Second ward; H. N. Spald- 
ing, Third ward ; C. N. Andrews. Fourth ward. 
The first meeting of the city council was held on 
Monday, April 26th, at the counting room of 
Eleazer H. Potter. William Lathrop was ap- 
pointed city clerk. An ordinance was passed 
creating the following city officers : Clerk of the 
council, attorney, treasurer, marshal, assessor, 
collector, engineer and two street commissioners. 
These officers were to be appointed annually by 
the city council at its first regular meeting after 
the annual municipal election. At the second 
session of the council, held May ist. the follow- 
ing city officers were appointed : W'illiam Lath- 
ro]), attorney; Hiram R. Maynard, treasurer; 
Dimcan iHTguson, assessor; K. H. Millikcn, col- 
lector; Duncan Ferguson, city engineer; 
Thatcher I'lake and William McKcnney. street 

An act of the legislature of June 18, 1852, 
authorized the city of Rockford to borrow money, 
not exceeding ten tliousand dollars, for the pur- 
|)ose of constructing a bridge. Bonds were to be 
issuetl. in the sum of one hundred dollars each, 



bearing- interest not exceeding ten per cent., and 
were to be redeemed within twenty years from 
issue. The sum was evidently insufficient for the 
purpose : and an act of the legislature of Febru- 
ary 3, 1853, authorized the city to borrow a max- 
imum sum of fifteen thousand dollars. Bonds 
were to be issued in sums not exceeding one 
thousand dollars each, payable within twenty 
years, and to draw interest not exceeding ten per 
cent. The act of 1852 was repealed. There is 
a tradition that Jason Marsh was sent east to ne- 
gotiate the sale of the bonds, for which he 
charged a commission of ten per cent. This fee 
was very reluctantly paid. To-day Rockford can 
borrow money at a very low rate of interest, and 
command a liberal premium on her lx)nds. The 
second or covered bridge was built in 1854, with 
the funds derived from the sale of bonds the pre- 
ceding year. This bridge stood imtil December, 

1871, when it was torn down and succeeded by 
the first iron bridge. 

There was some technical irregularity in the 
incorporation of the city : and an act of the legis- 
lature approved February 8, 1853, legalized the 
previous official acts of the mayor and covmcil. 
Section two of this law provided : "That all 
official acts of the council and of the mayor or 
either of them, of said city, done or performed 
since their election as such, and prior to the period 
this act shall take eiifect, and which would have 
been valid in case the original incorporation as a 
city had been legal, be and the same is liereby le- 

A special charter was granted to the city by the 
legislature March 4, 1854. By this act the gen- 
eral law of 1849 was declared to be no longer in 
force, so far as Rockford was concerned, except 
for the purpose of supplementing proceedings 
had or commenced, so as not to impair the legal 
consequences of any past transaction. This 
charter was amended February 4, 1855, April 26, 
1859, and February 22, 1861. "An act to re- 
duce the charter of the city of Rockford. and the 
several acts amendatory thereof into one act and 
to revise and amend the same" was approved 
February 15, 1865. Rockford was governed by 
this charter until the city was reorganized under 
the general law. This general law. enacted in 

1872, repealed the general law of 1849, and 
abolished the system of special charters. Between 
these dates there appear to have been two meth- 
ods for the incorporation of cities in force at the 
same time ; by a general law, and by a special 
charter. It may be presumed that a city generally 
obtained greater powers under a special 
charter than by a general law : and the former 
method of incorporation was more generally 
adopted by the cities of the State. 

In 1855 steps were taken for the organization 
of a fire department. Its need had daily become 

apparent. A committee, appointed by the city 
council, purchased four small engines, named 
Constantine, Alexander, Sevastopol and Nicho- 
las. The Sevastopol was received in the latter 
part of October, and February 21, 1856, a public 
trial was made of the engines, all of which had 
arrived. The result was not altogether satisfac- 
tory, and the "machines" with Russian names 
were discarded. In May and June, Winnebago 
Engine Company Number One, and Washing- 
ton Number Two were organized, and nearly a 
year later the efficient engines bearing those 
names were received. Subsequently Union En- 
gine Company Number Three was formed, and 
an engine procured. These three engines con- 
stituted the fire apparatus of the city as late as 
1869. The first six chief engineers were Ed- 
ward F. W. Ellis. Samuel I. Church. M. A. Bart- 
lett, Howard D. Frost, A. G. Springsteen, Gard- 
ner S. Allen. The first four assistant engineers 
were Gardner S. .Mien, James E. L. Southgate, 
Charles T. Jellerson, Hiram H. Waldo. 

The tax levies for the first few years under the 
new regime were as follows : 1854, seven and 
one-half mills on each dollar of taxable property, 
both real and personal : 1855, ten mills on each 
dollar; 1856, one and three-quarters per cent, on 
each dollar ; 1857, one and one-half per cent. ; 
1858, one and five-eighths per cent. ; 1859, two 
and one-half per cent. ; i860, two per cent. ; 1861, 
two per cent. It will be observed that the rate 
increased each year up to 1859. 

ELKCTIO.X'S OF 1 852-53. 

In the presidential election of 1852 Winneba- 
go county maintained its position as a whig 
stronghold. The presidential electors received 
1,023 votes; the Democratic electors, 820; Free 
Soil electors. 725. 

Under the apportionment of August 22, 1852, 
the legislature divided the state into nine congres- 
sional districts. The first district comprised the 
counties of Fake, McHenry, Boone. Winnebago, 
Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Ogle. 

The campaign of 1852 was signalized by the 
election of E. B. Washburne as a member of con- 
gress from the First district. Mr. Washburne 
received 1.102 votes in W^innebago county; 
Thompson Campbell, his democratic opponent, 
851 ; and Newman Campbell, 610 votes. 

Abraham I. Enoch was elected a member of the 
legislature from the Forty-seventh senatorial dis- 
trict. His vote in Winnebago county was 
1,063; Lyman F. Warner, democrat, 840; Ezra 
S. Cable, 659. Mr. Enoch was born in Dayton, 
Ohio. July 24, 1819. He came to this county 
with his father's family in 1835, and settled in 
Guilford township. Mr. EnocK was honored by 
several public offices, and in 1866 he was again 


elected a moinlKT of tlic legislature. Mr. Enoch 
reniovetl to Rock ford in 1S67, and bejjan the 
inaiui fact lire of plows. He died ni 1883. 

William I'.rown was elected state's attorney 
for tile I'ourteentli judicial circuit. Mis majori- 
ties in the several counties were: \\'iiinel)ag;o, 
650: Stephenson. 480: Jo Daviess, ^j ; total. 
1.217. Hi* opponents were I'rancis Ihirnap. 
John C. Kean and Francis S. W. Bradley. 

Charles H. Sjiafford was elected circuit clerk 
by an even one thousand votes; Kinp H. Milli- 
ken was elected sherilT: .\lfred A. ChamlxTlaiii, 

At the county election in 1853 the entire \\\u'^ 
ticket was successful. Sehien M. Church was 
elected county judije : .\sher ISeach and .\lfred 
E. Hale, associate justices : William Hiilin, 
county clerk: C. .\. Huntington, school commis- 
sioner ; Duncan I'eriruson, county treasurer ; 
Duncan Ferguson, surveyor. 


July 15, 1851. many of the leading ])uhlic- 
spirited citizens of the town associated them- 
selves together under the name of the Rockford 
Water Power Company. These gentlemen were : 
Thomas D. Robertson. John .\. Holland, R. P. 
Lane. (i. .\. Sanford. \V. .\. Dickerman. .S. M. 
Church. ( )rlando Clark. C. I. Horsman. John 
ICdwards, John S. Cok-man, John l'"isher. Wil- 
liam Hulin. Isaiah Lyon, Melancthoii Starr, 
C. H. Spafford, Lucius Clark, J. J. Town, Henry 
Potwin. H. R. .Maynard, James H. Rogers, 15. 
McKennv. John Piatt. Albert Sanford. Chas. C. 

Hope. H. i\ Kimball. Robert Clow. 

\'anduzer and McCoy. This organi- 
zation was effected in pursuance of the general 
law enacted by the legislature in 1849. for the im- 
provement of Rock river and the production of 
liydraulic power. In Sei)tembcr. 1831, the 
owners of the water and land under the old com- 
pany entered into an agreement with the new 
company, whereby the two interests were con- 
soliclated, and stejis were immediately taken for 
the construction of a |)ermanent rlam on the rock 
Ixittom of the old ford, from which the city de- 
rives its name. In the s])ring of 1853 the dam 
and race were ci>m|)leted and accepted by the 
coni|)any. The length of the dam is between 
seven hundred and eight hundred feet. The 
water power is divided into twenty thousand 
parts, and is held and sold in this projiortion. 

The first great impetus given to the manufac- 
turing interests of Rockford was the advent of 
John H. Manny, in 1853, to whom further ref- 
erence is made in later paragra])hs. There were 
however, other firms doing a general manufac- 
turing business in the city. 

.\bout 1848 James B. Skinner began business, 
which developed into the firm of Skinner. Briggs 

& luioch. He was a son of Deacon Ste])hen 
.Skinner, who had a blacksmith shop on Xorth 
.Main street, about where Louck's restaurant now 
stands. James B. worked with his father some 
\ears in the sho]). and then began business for 
himself. In 1850 he erected a larger building 
and o|)erated eleven forges. This l)lacksmith 
shop was said to be the largest in the west at that 
time. To this business he later added the man- 
ufacture of wagons. Mr. Skinner was the in- 
ventor of the first riding cultivator, rolling coul- 
ter, single riding i)low and gang plow. In 1867 
a Mr. .Mead and C. C. Briggs were taken in as 
partners. In January. i8f)8. Mr. Mead retired 
and was succeeded by .\. I. luioch. under the firm 
name of Skinner. Briggs & Enoch. Plows and 
cultivators formed a large i)art of their output. 
The company outgrew its limited ])lant and re- 
moved to the water-])ower. .Mr. .Skinner died 
in 187J. and C. C. I'-riggs and .\. I. Enoch pur- 
chased the interest of the Skinner estate. 

W. D. Trahern came to Rockford in 1848, and 
soon after began the manufaclure of threshing 
machines and horse-powers, under the firm name 
of Trahern & Stuart. Mr. Stuart retired in 1856, 
and was succeeded by William Dales. He 
with<lrew from the firm in i8f)2. and from that 
time .Mr. Trahern conducted the business alone 
until his death in 1883. In later vears Mr. Tra- 
lieni devoted his exclusive attention to the man- 
ufacture of iron pumps. Mr. Dales subsequently 
engaged in the manufacture of the wood portions 
of grain separators, and did general job work in 
hard wood and sheet metal. 

In 1851 ( )rlando Clark began the erection of 
a foun(lry on the water-jiower. He came to 
Rockford in 1847. and established a foundry on 
the west side race, where he remained until the 
old dam went out in 1831. He was one of the 
incorporators of the new water-power company 
a few months later. 

In 1832 Isaac I'tter came fn>ni Warsaw. 
X. v.. and formed a i)artnership with Mr. Clark, 
under the firm name of t lark & I'tter. In the 
spring of 1833 this firm manufactured one hun- 
dred and fifty combined rea|)ers and mowers for 
John H. Mannv. In xHCv) the firm manufactured 
one thousand ( iorham seeders. Their output also 
included sugar mills, evaporators and steam en- 

D. Forbes & Son established an iron foundry 
in 1834, and in ^iV^ the iinlleable iron works 
were added to the busimss. 

X. C. Thompson came to Rockford in 1837. and 
built u]) one of the largest jilants on the waier- 
|)<)wer. which at one time covered several acres. 
A capital of a (|uarter of a million dollars was re- 
i|uired to carry on the business. The John P. 
.Slannv reaper and mower was manufactured ex- 
clusively by .Mr. Thom|)son. 



Frederick H. Manny came to Rockford in 
1859 and built a large plant. He manufactured 
the John H. Alanny combined reaper and mower, 
and the Rockford broadcast seed sower and cul- 
tivators combined. 

Flouring mills were an important factor in 
Rockford industries. Moses Bartlett built a 
stone mill on the east side in 1854, with four 
stories. Joseph Rodd came to Rockford from 
Canada in the autumn of 1853, and a few years 
later he embarked in the milling business on the 
east side of the river. The Troxell mill was 
built on the east side in 1853, and was purchased 
by ]\Ir. Bartlett in 1865. ^^Ir. Bartlett also 
owned a large mill on the west side. E. Derwent 
completed a mill on the east side in 1863. T. Der- 
went & Sons began milling business in Rockford 
in 1859. This plant is now owned bv A. L. Bart- 
lett & Co. 

There were also several ])laning mills. La- 
pointe & Derwent began business on the water- 
power in 1866. In the same year J. F. Lander 
erected a three-story structure, which was subse- 
quently occupied by Blakeman & Dobson as a 
sash and blind factory, and now owned by the 
Rockford Bolt Works'. 

Nelson & Co. began business in 1865. Camp- 
bell & Wood commenced business in 1866 in a 
building which partially covered a large founda- 
tion for a planing mill, laid by Thomas Garrison, 
at the west end of the dam, but never completed. 
George Bradley & Co. opened the first steam 
planing mill in 1868, in a building now occupied 
by C. J. Weldon as a carriage shop. 

Among the other manufacturers were Bertrand 
& Sames. who began business in the middle fif- 
ties ; Graham cotton mill, 1865; Rhoades, Utter 
& Co., paper mill, 1865 : Rockford \\'oolen ]\Iills, 
J. & W. Dyson, 1865 ; Northwestern Bolt Works, 
G. Sunsaul & Co., 1866. 

FA.Mors m.vnxv-m'corjiick .suit. 

This story has often been told, but it will never 
cease to be of interest to Rockford readers. The 
interest is more than local. John H. .Manny, the 
defendant in the suit, was the inventive genius 
whose patents laid the foundations for the great 
Emerson manufacturing plant on the water- 
power. Cyrus H. McCormick, the plaintifif, was 
the inventor of the reaper, and the founder of the 
theological seminary in Chicago which bears his 
name. It was during the progress of this suit 
that .A-braham Lincoln made his only visit to 
Rockford. Several of the leading attorneys of 
the countr>' were retained. Among them were 
Reverdy Johnson, Peter H. Watson, George 
Harding and Edward M. Stanton. The outcome 
of the decision involved many millions of dollars, 
and vitallv affected Rockford as a manufacturing 

center. The suit was one of the most notable 
chapters in the industrial development of the 

John H. Atanny was born in Amsterdam, New 
York, November 28, 1825. His father. Pells 
Manny, settled at \\'addams Grove, in Stephen- 
son county. The younger iManny's attention 
was called to the need of a reaper by his father's 
purchase of a heading machine, which proved un- 
satisfactory. The father and son thereupon so 
constructed the header as to practically make a 
new machine. They obtained a patent on the 
header, and began its manufacture on a small 
scale. It proved to be too expensive and was 
abandoned. iMr. IManny then directed his atten- 
tion toward a reaper, and after many vicissitudes, 
which brou.ght him to serious financial embar- 
rassment, his inventive genius and indomitable 
energy were crowned with success. ?i[r. Alanny 
built eighty-four machines in 1852. 

In July, 1852, a reaper trial was held in Ge- 
neva, New York, in which Mr. Manny's reaper 
came into competition with eleven others. The 
excellence of Mr. iManny's machine was estab- 

In the spring of 1853 Mr. iManny was urged 
to come to Rockford by Orlando Clark. The 
preceding year Isaac Utter came from the east 
and formed a partnership with Mr. Clark, under 
the firm name of Clark & Utter. In the spring 
of 1853 there were manufactured one hundred 
and fifty of Mr. Manny's combined reapers and 
mowers in Clark & Utter's factory. It is also 
said that John A. Holland told Blinn & Emer- 
son, who were then in the hardware business, 
that it would be desirable to have Mr. Manny 
come to Rockford for two reasons : First, there 
was better water-power : second, the firm was ex- 
tendin.o- liberal credit to Mr. Manny for stock. 

The popularity of the Manny reaper demanded 
larger capital. In the spring of 1834 Wait and 
Sylvester Talcott became associated with IMr. 
Manny as partners, under the firm name of J. H. 
Mannv & Co., and during the year eleven hun- 
dred machines were made. In the autumn of 
1854 Jesse Blinn and Ralph Emerson were added 
to the firm and the name was changed to 
IManny & Company. In 1855 the famous trials 
of the IMannv reaper were made in Europe, 
which gave to his invention a reputation abroad. 
'Sir. Mannv continued to improve his reaper, and 
obtained twenty-three patents upon new devices. 

In September. 1855, Cyrus H. McCormick, of 
Chicago, began suit in the federal court to en- 
join the Manny company from using a certain de- 
vice upon the grounds of infringement of pat- 
ent. The case was heard before Justice McLean 
and Judge Drummond at Cincinnati, although 
the court records were kept in Chicago, which 
belonared to the same circuit. Attorneys of na- 



tioiuil rcpulatiiiii were retained. Mr. AlcCor- 
mick's counsel were Reverdy Johnson and E. 
X. Dickinson. Peter H. W'atson, who had ob- 
tained Mr. Manny's patents, was g'iven entire 
change of tlie defendants' case. 

Peter II. W'atson was an early resident of 
Rockford. He and his l)rothcr William were 
])niprietors of the first frnnidry and machine sho]), 
which stood on the site of Jeremiah Davis' resi- 
dence on Xorth Second street. Mr. Watson 
continued his interest in the foundry until .Au- 
gust. 1845. .\fter leavingf Rockford \\x. Watson 
became one of the best known attorneys of the 
country. lie was assistant secretary of war un- 
der Edwin M. Stanton ; was later jiresident of 
the Erie railway, and one of the organizers of 
what is now the Standard Oil Company. 

Mr. Watson employed George Harding, Ed- 
win M. Stanton and Abraham Lincoln. It is said 
E. I'.. Washburnc had recommended Mr. Lin- 
cnln to Mr. Manny. When all the ])arties had 
arrived at Cincinnati .Mr. Lincoln was informed 
bv Mr. Watson that .Mr. Stanton would close the 
case for the defendants. This was a great humil- 
iation to Mr. Lincoln. Although he had prepared 
his argument Mr. Lincoln did not argue the case. 

Mr. Lincoln first met Mr. Stanton at Cincinnati. 
Mr. Stanton treated him with great discourtesy 
during the trial and referred to him as a rail 
sjilitter from the wild west. Xot withstanding 
these indignities Mr. Lincoln was imi)ressed with 
Mr. Stanton's force of character ; and when six 
years later a man of iron was needed. President 
Lincoln made Stanton his secretary of war. No 
other incident in the life of Mr. Lincoln better 
illustrates his moral greatness. 

The trial resulted in a victory for the Mannv 
Conipany. The decision was announced January 
16, 1856. The defendants' expenses of the suit 
were sixty thousand dollars, and this large sum 
was paid from the business in a short time. Mr. 
McCormick appealed the case to the Cnited 
States supreme court, of which Roger Pi. Taney, 
who rendered the famous Dred Scott decision, 
was chief justice. The decision of the lower court 
was affirmed, and Mr. Manny's rights as an in- 
ventor were fully sustained. 

Icla M. Tarbell's Life of Lincoln, republished 
from her serial in McClurc's Magazine, gives 
an incident of this trial, which the author obtained 
from Rali)h Emerson, who says : 

".Mr. Stanton closed his speech in a flight of 
imi)assioned elofjuence. Tiien the court ad- 
journed for the day, and Mr. Lincoln invited me 
to take a long walk with him. For block after 
block he walked rapidly forward, not saving a 
word, evidently deeply dejected. 

".\t last he turned suddenly to me, exclaiming, 
'Emerson, I am going home.' \ pause. 'I ain 
going hfinie to study law.' 

" "W hy. I exclaimed, '.Mr. Lincoln, you stand 
at the head of the bar in Illinois now ! What are 
you talking about ?' 

■■ 'Ah, yes,' he said, 'I do occu])y a good posi- 
tion there, and I think that I can get along with 
the way things are done there now. Put these 
college trained men. who have devoted their 
whole lives to study, arc coming west, don't you 
see? And they study their cases as we never do. 
Thev have got as far as Cincinnati now. They 
will soon be in Illinois." Another long pause; 
then sto])ping and turning toward me, his coun- 
tenance suddenly assuming that look of strong 
determination which those who knew him best 
sometimes saw upon his face, he exclaimed, 'I 
am going home to study law ! I am as good as 
anv of them, and when they get out to Illinois I 
will be ready for them.' " 

Mr. Lincoln's only visit to Rockford was on 
a hot summer afternoon. He came on profes- 
sional busines.s' in connection with his suit. Mr. 
Lincoln and one of the clients sat on an old log 
on the bank of the river and discussed the matter. 
Mr. Lincoln wore a long linen coat, and presented 
that ])icture of ungainliness with which the world 
is familiar. Mr. Lincoln was a guest at Mr. 
Manny's home, which was a small frame build- 
ing that .stood on the site of the Mihvaukee depot. 
The company paid Mr. Lincoln a fee of one thou- 
sand dollars, which was the largest retainer he 
had received up to that time. 

The prolonged mental strain incident to per- 
fecting his inventions and the trial of the suit un- 
dermined Mr. Manny's health. He fell a prey to 
consumption, and January 37. 1856, he passed 
away, in his little modest home on South Main 
street, when he had just ])asscd his thirtieth birth- 
day. He never realized the w^eallh which his in- 
ventions would bring to others, nor the prestige 
which they would give to the Reaper City, nor the 
great name which he had made for himself, 

Mrs. Manny received a royalty of twenty-five 
dollars on every machine manufactured. This 
amount was subsequently reduced. Financial re- 
verses overtook the comjiany in 1857. but it 
weathered the storm and built an extensive plant. 

During the summer of 1903 the Milwaukee 
Sentinel jniblished a notable article, written by a 
special Washington correspondent, which pur- 
])orted to he an expose of the "Inside story of the 
great fraud perpetrated on Cyrus Hall McCor- 
mick, which robbed him of his |)atent rights and 
barred his face from I'ncle Sam's currency." The 
article professetl to reveal the manner by which 
Colonel William Wood purchased every McCor- 
mick reaper known to exist in the country, one 
of which was examined by a patent commissioner, 
and subsc(|uently so tampered with and changed 
by Colonel Wood as to deceive the I'nited States 
supreme court into renilering a decision against 



Mr. McCormick. Col. Wood died in 1903. He 
was superintendent of the old Capitol and Carrol 
prisons during- the war and was at the head of 
the United States secret service during the re- 
construction period. 

Mr. McCormick had other troubles. In 1895 
an efifort was made to have the portrait of Mr. 
]McCormick placed on the silver certificates of the 
government currency. But there had been a pro- 
longed controversy between the rival claims of 
'Sir. ]\IcCormick and Obed Hussey as to who was 
the real inventor of the reaper. j\lr. McCormick's 
old rivals and enemies came forward with such 
vigorous protests and so clouded his title to an 
invention that the government abandoned the 
idea of placing his name upon its currency. 

There are several small volumes in the Rock- 
ford public library bearing upon the various 
phases of this historic controversy. 


There has been one movement in the history 
of the American mind which gave to literature a 
g-roup of writers entitled to the name of a school. 
This was the great humanitarian movement, or 
series of movements, in New England, which be- 
gan with the elder Channing. ran through its 
later phase in transcendentalism, and spent its 
force in the anti-slavery agitation and the enthusi- 
asms of the civil war. This intellectual and moral 
awakening found its expression in the lecture 
platform. The daily newspaper had not assumed 
its present blanket-sheet proportions : and the 
leaders of these various phases of new thought 
carried their message to the people in person. 

In the autumn of 1853 the Young i\Ien's Asso- 
ciation was organized, for the purpose of bring- 
ing to Rockford the most popular lecturers of the 
dav. Among its members were Rev. H. M. 
Goodwin, C. H. Spafford. H. H. Waldo, H. P. 
Holland, E. W. Blaisdell, J. E. L. Southgate, 
William Lathrop, R. A. Sanford, E. H. Baker, 
Rev. J. Murray, E. C. Daugherty, A. S. Miller. 

The first course was provided for the winter 
of 1853-54. It began with two lectures, Novem- 
ber 29th and 30th. by E. P. Whipple, in the First 
Baptist church. It is almost incredible that one 
of the local newspapers should not have even 
given the subject of his lecture. From the other, 
however, it is learned that ]\Ir. Whipple's theme 
for the first lecture was "Heroic Character," and 
that he "delineated graphically and beautifully, 
the hero-soldier, led on by his love of glory ; the 
hero-patriot, actuated by his love of country ; the 
hero-reformer, moved by his love of humanity ; 
and the hero-saint, animated by his love of God." 
The subject of his second lecture was "Eccentric 
Character." The Forum's criticism was not very 

The third lecture was given December loth, at 
the Baptist church, by Horace Mann. His sub- 
ject was "Young Alen." The Democrat, in "re- 
porting" the lecture, took this flattering unction 
to its soul ; "As we looked around over the large 
assemblage of youth, beauty, intellect and fashion, 
and noted with what anxiety the sea of heads 
were turned toward the speaker, as if to catch 
the words ere they left his lips, we experienced 
a deep feeling of pride, and thought to ourselves, 
few places in any land, of equal age, population, 
etc., can boast of a more highly refined intellect- 
ual community than is to be found in our own 
little embryo city." 

The fourth lecture was given in the City Hall, 
by George \MlHam Curtis, December 12th. His 
subject was "Young America,'" and for an hour 
and a half the speaker entranced his audience 
with his noble thought and pure diction. 

Horace Greeley followed Mr. Curtis. His 
theme was "The Reforms of the Age." He spoke 
of the abolition and temperance movements, 
woman's rights, and the abolition of the death 
penalty. ]\Ir. Greeley wrote his impressions of the 
Rock River valley at some length for the New 
York Tribune, from which his characteristic 
paragraph is taken: "I have traversed the Ro- 
man Campagna ( which is only a great wet prairie 
surcharged with malaria and ruins), glanced at 
the great pastures of Belgium, and ridden across 
the prairies of central and northern Indiana by 
daylight, lamplight and moonlight ; but still I was 
nowhere in a discussion of the value and attract- 
iveness of prairies — for I had never been on Rock 
river. But now, gentlemen ! I give you fair 
warning that I take a back seat no longer when 
the felicities of western life and the genial fer- 
tility and Eden-like character of the prairies is 
under discussion, for I have been on Rock river ! 
. . I should like more springs, more running 
streams, and less lime in the water ; but then Par- 
adise is beyond Jordan, or some other stream, 
and is not wisely sought even on Rock river." 

The next speaker was Prof. Joseph Emerson, 
of Beloit, who spoke of Greek civilization. W. 
H. Channing was announced for January 27th, 
but no reference to the lecture is found. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the seventh 
lecture in the course February 3, 1854, in War- 
ner's Hall. "Emerson's lecture," says H. H. 
Waldo, "was not without its comical features. 
His subject was 'History.' I believe it was the 
same as his essay with that title. One scintilla- 
tion was this : 'Time vanishes to shining ether the 
solid angularity of facts. Carthage was, but is 
not.' This was only saying there was nothing 
permanent. He gave this thought in a matter-of- 
fact style. The hall was packed, but half the au- 
dience was sleepy. The lecture was pronounced 
bv some to be a failure." 

PAST AXl) I'RKSICXT OF \\l\.\l-:i!A(i( ) CorXTY. 

Lectures were jjiveii (luriiijj^ the season by 
Bisliop T'otter. Chancellor Lalliro]), .liidsje Doo- 
little. of Wisconsin, on "The Cliaracler of Wash- 
ington ;" Uayanl Taylor, two lectures, on "The 
Arabs," and "Japan and the Jai)anesc." March 
27tb. 1854. ( )le r.ull and Patti" were in Rockford. 

The course for 1854- 1853 included Rev. E. H. 
Chapin. Josiali Ouincy. John C,. Saxe. John Pier- 
pont. James Russell i.owell. and Itayard Taylor. 
Dr. Chapin spoke on ".Modern Chivalry;" Mr. 
Saxe gave a poem-lecture on "Yankee Land ;" 
John I'ierpont's theme was "The Golden Calf;' 
Lowell spoke on "English Ballads." and Taxlor 
on "India." 

The course of 1853-56 was opened by Henry 
Ward lieecher. who spoke on "I'atriotism." He 
was followed by Wendell Phillips. T. Sarr King 
and Dr. Chapin were engaged for Ibis course. 

During the next few years Rockford was fa- 
vored with P. .\. Shillabcr, Parke E. Godwin, 
John 15. Gough and Prof. Youmans. 


Rockffird has claimed the honor of the ])irth- 
|)lace of the Republican |)arty, so far as a congres- 
sional nomination under the name is concerned. 
"Seven cities tought for Homer dead ;'' likewise 
many places have contended for the honor of the 
first party organization. Rockford's claim to 
the first congressional nomination is certainly 
not unreasonable ; and even if it can not be sus- 
tained, it will at least call attention to a notable 
])o1itical event. 

When the Kansas-Xebraska bill was passed 
by congress in May, 1854, there was a general 
feeling in the old whig and democratic parties 
that the enroachments of the slave-power de- 
manded more vigorous resistance. With this end 
in view, a call was issued .\ugust 8th. to the vot- 
ers of the first congressional district, for a 
mass meeting to be held in Rockford on the 30th 
instant. This call was signed by forty-six citizens 
of Rockford. only two of whom are now known. 
The meeting was called to order in the court- 
house, and from there adjourned to the grove 
west of the Ilaptist church, between Court and 
Winnebago streets. E. I!. Washburiie had been 
elected a member of congress as a whig two vears 
before, and was of course a candidate for re-elec- 
tion. There were other Richmonds in the field: 
Turner and .Sweet, of I'reej^irt : Loop, of Rock- 
ford, and Hulbut of P.elvitlere. Xone of these 
were f)penly avowerl candidates : but each was 
anxious for the jirize. A committee on resolu- 
tions of one from each county was nominated. 
There was ambition mixed with patriotism. It 
was a time >>{ breaking u]) of old parties, and the 
future was uncertain. Mow far would it be safe 
to declare against the action of congress? 

This was a serious f[uestion. The leaders were 
against Washburne, but the ijeojile were with him. 
There is a tradition that the committee on res- 
olutions was directed somewhat by the suggest- 
ions of Ste])hen .\. Hurlbut. in preparing anti- 
slavery resolutions so radical that Mr. W'ash- 
buriie, it was thought, could not accept a nomina- 
tion u])on them. I'.ut Mr. Washburne was equal 
to the occasion, lie ileclared that the resolutions 
met his most hearty approval ; whereu])on James 
Loo]) remarked, in language more emijhatic than 
l)ious. that Washburne would swallow anything. 
.Mr. Washburne was thereupon nominated as a 
Re])ublicaii by this mass convention. 

The regular whig convention for the district 
was held Se])tember Cith. and Mr. Washliurne was 
also made the nominee. His nomination was op- 
])ose(l by .Mr. ilurlbut. who on the d.ay of the con- 
vention is reported to have said : "When you say 
that E. D. Washburne is a good man, I agree with 
you. But when you say that he is a wise man and 
a statesman, there is a chance for an argument. 
It has been said .Mr. Washburne is a man of learn- 
ing, l)ut I say that as a man of learning, E. B. 
Washburne. of Fever river. Galena, possesses 
frightful limitations." Mr. Hurlbut was a con- 
summate master of sarcasm, which he often used 
without mercy. But it has been said that while 
Hurlbut could make the better speech. Wash- 
l)urne won the votes ; and on the whole, he was 
the more successful ])olii!cian. 

In the evening .Mr. Waslil)urne entertained his 
friends at a bancpiet at the City Hotel. Some- 
time after this whig convention. Mr. Hurlbut 
met II. 11. Waldo, who had supported Mr. 
Washburne, and complimented him on his splen- 
did fi,ght, and said that, considering the material 
at hand, he had done well. 

Thus was made one of the first, if not the very 
first, republican nomination for member of con- 
gress. The strong anti-slavery sentiment of both 
]jarties had been intensified by the repeal of the 
Missouri compromise, under the leadership of 
.Stephen .\. Douglas, and the passage of the Il- 
linois lilack Laws, through the influence of John 
.A. Logan. Like Saul of Tarsus before he saw a 
great light. Logan was dominated by prejuflice; 
ami. like I'aul after his change, he bravely de- 
fended those he formerly oppressed. General 
Logan always had the courage of his convictions ; 
and his jwlitical change was sincere. 


Seeley Perry was born at .Stockbridgc, Massa- 
chusetts, .\ugust 22. i8jj, and was graduated 
from L'niitn College at Schenectady in 1845. Mr. 
Perry came to Rockton in 1840, and in 1851 he 
settled in Rockford. .\fter teaching one year he 
engagefl in the lumber trade, in which he contin- 



ued for nearly half a century. Mr. Perry was 
elected mayor of Rockford in 1858, and served 
one term. He also served the city as alderman, 
member of the hoard of education, and a director 
of the public library. Mr. Perry died in 1900. 

Jesse Blinn was born in 1809 in \'ermont, and 
from there he removed to Conneaut, Ohio. He 
came to Rockton in 1838 ; in 1850 he settled in 
Rockford. and his family a 3'ear later. He 
opened the first exclusive hardware store in the 
city. He subsequently became a manufacturer 
on the water-power, to which reference has been 
made. Mr. Blinn died in iS/ij. ]\lrs. Blinn died 
in 1905. 

Ralph Emerson was the son of Rev. Ralph Em- 
erson, a Congregational clergyman, and a profes- 
sor in Andover theological seminary, the oldest 
Congregational divinity school in the country. 
Another son was Professor Joseph Emerson, of 
Beloit. ^Ir. Emerson was born in Andover, 
Massachusetts, in 1831. He came to Rockford 
in 1852. and was later a partner with Jesse Blinn 
in the hardware business until they became inter- 
ested in the water-power. The Emerson Com- 
pany has proved one of the most successful man- 
ufacturers in the west. This result may be at- 
tributed to 2\lr. Emerson's unusual executive 
ability. He has made a generous use of his large 
wealth in contributions to various religious en- 
terprises. Mr. Emerson married Adaline Talcott, 
a daughter of Hon. Wait Talcott. 

Hon. Wait Talcott was a son of William Tal- 
cott, and was born at Hebron, Connecticut, Octo- 
ber 17, 1807. He came to Rockton in the autumn 
of 1838. He was one of the incorporators of Be- 
loit college and Rockford seminary. In 1854 he 
came to Rockford and began his career as a man- 
ufacturer on the water-power with his brother 
Sylvester. In 1854 he was elected state senator 
from the district, comprising Winnebago, Carroll, 
Boone and Ogle counties. Upon the passage of 
the internal revenue act. President Linconi ap- 
pointed ]\Ir. Talcott commissioner of internal 
revenue for the Second congressional district. 
This appointment was dated August 27, 1862, 
and Mr. Talcott served five years. Mr. Talcott 
preserved files of Chicago and Rockford news- 
papers, and upon his death, which occurred No- 
vember 7, 1890. his son. William A. Talcott. pre- 
sented them in excellent bound condition to the 
Rockford public library. 

John S. Coleman was a native of Delaware 
county. New York. In 185 1 he removed with his 
family to Rockford and became a member of the 
banking firm of Robertson, Coleman & Company. 
He built the stone house on North >\lain street, 
now owned by \\'iliam Nelson. Air. Coleman 
was a trustee of Rockford seminary and treasurer 
of the board, and a member of the city council. 
He died April 6, 1864, in his fifty-eighth year. 

James L. Loo]i was Ijorn in Steuben county, 
New York, in 1815. He settled in Belvidere in 
1838, and some years later he formed a partner- 
shi]5 with his brother-in-law, Stephen A. Hurlbut, 
in the practice of law. He was prosecuting attor- 
ney for the northern district of Illinois in 1843-5. 
From 1846 to 1850 Mr. Loop was secretary of the 
Illinois and ^Michigan canal, which office he re- 
signed. In 1852 ]\Ir. Loop removed to Rockford 
and formed law partnership with William Lath- 
rop. In 1856 tie was elected mayor of Rockford, 
and served one term. Mr. Loop's death occurred 
February 8, 1865, when he was fifty years of age. 
The remains were taken to Belvidere for burial. 
By the common consent of the Rockford bar, 
James L. Loop possessed the finest legal ability 
of any man who ever practiced in this city. His 
intellect was strong and his resources were at his 
instant command. His grasp of legal principles 
was due to his acute, intuitive sense of what was 
right between man and man, which was a gift 
from nature. Mr. Loop was always the genial 
gentleman. Like so many other gifted men. he 
was his own worst enemy, and his sad. imtimely 
death was an impressive object lesson that strong 
drink is no respecter of persons. 

\\'illiam Lathrop is a native of Genesee county, 
New York. He came to Rockford in January, 
1 85 1. He was partner with James L. Loop from 
1853 to 1857. In 1856 Mr. Lathrop was elected 
a member of the legislature, and served one term. 
In 1876 he succeeded Stephen A. Hurlbut as 
member of congress from the Fourth district, 
and served one term. During his long residence 
in Rockford Mr. Lathrop has enjoyed a large and 
lucrative legal practice. The author takes pleas- 
ure in acknowledging his obligations to Mr. Lath- 
rop for the free use of his library and for infor- 
mation personally given. 

Lion. John Early was born in Middlesex 
county, Canada West, A larch 17, 1828. In 1846 
he removed with his parents to Boone county, 
and in 1852 he settled in Rockford. He served 
three terms as assessor of Rockford. In 1869 he 
was appointed one of the first board of trustees 
of the reform school at Pontiac. In 1870 ilr. 
Early was elected state senator from the Twenty- 
third district, composed of Winnebago, Boone, 
AlcHenry and Lake counties. His senatorial 
colleague was General Allen C. Fuller, of Bel- 
videre. After the state haa been re-districted he 
was elected senator in 1872, from the Ninth dis- 
trict, which included Winnebago and Boone coun- 
ties, and again in 1874, for the full term of four 
years. By the election of Governor Oglesby to 
the United States senate, and Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor Beveridge becoming governor, Mr. Early 
became acting lieutenant-governor of the state. 
Mr.- Early died September 2. 1877. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Edward F. W. Ellis was 


born in Milton, Maine. Ajjfil 15, i8iy. lie came 
to Rockfonl in 1S54 and became a member of 
tlie bankin.ij firm of Spaffonl. Clark &• Ellis. 
L'i)on the outbreak of the civil war Colonel Ellis 
raised a company for the Fifteenth regiment, 
called the Ellis Rifles. He was chosen lieutenant- 
colonel, but was acting colonel at the time of his 
death. At the battle of Shiloh he was in command 
of the I'ilteentn. which belonged to General Hurl- 
hut's division. On Monday morning his regiment 
was exposed to a terrible fire and Colonel Ellis 
was struck in the breast by a ball, and instantly 
expired. Col. l^llis' home was the historic home- 
stead lately owned by Dr. W. H. Fitch, on ^Vest 
State street. In 1S56 the property was trans- 
ferred to Colonel Ellis, and there he lived with his 
wife and children. 

Henry P. Kimball was a native of Xew Hamp- 
shire, and was graduated from Rochester univer- 
sity. Mr. Kimball came to Rockford in 1852. 
and taught school for some time. He had a local 
re]>utatitin as a horticulturist. As secretary of the 
-Agricultural Society, Mr. Kimball achieved a 
uni(|ue distinction as a successful fair advertiser. 
l'l)on his invitation many of the most distin- 
guished men of the generation visited Rock- 
ford and made addresses. Mr. Kimball died Mav 
10, 1889. 

John Xelson was a native of West Gothland, 
Sweden, born April 5, 1830. He came to Rock- 
ford in 1852. ilis life was uneventful until a 
short time before liis death, when he i)erfected 
the Xelson knitting machine, which revolution- 
ized the knitting of liosiery. After (icneral Grant 
had returned from liis tour around the world, he 
visited Mr. Xelson's factory, and declared that 
he had never seen such perfect machinerv for this 
purpose. Mr. Xelson died April 15. 1883. The 
Hotel Xelson is named in his honor. 

.\. E. Goodwin, M. D., was Ixirn August 11. 
1827. at Chelsea. \'ermont. He was graduated 
from P.erk.shire medical college at Pittsficld. 
Massachusetts. Dr. Goodwin came to Rockford 
in 1854. During the civil war lie was a surgeon 
in the Eleveiitli Illinois Infantry and in the One 
Hundred and F:ighth. He was wounded at Mcks- 
burg. Dr. Goodwin was a member of tlie citv 
1)oard of education, and of the public library 
board. He died May 14, 1889. 

Chester C. Rriggs was a native of \''ermont. 
He was liorn in Dover, Se])tember 6, 181 7. He 
was graduated from Dartmoutli college, and in 
1833 he came to Rockford and became the sen- 
ior nieml)er of the banking firm of Hriggs, Spaf- 
ford & Penfield. He was subsequently financial 
manager of the Kenosha Railroad Coiiipain. In 
}H()H he became associated with the firm of 
'•riggs. Mead & Skinner, in the manufacture of 
agricultural implements. The firm n.imc w.-i^; 

later changed to P.riggs & Enoch. .Mr. Priggs 
died January 24, i8<j2. 

James (;. .Manlove was a native of Dover, Del- 
aware, where he was born December 15, 181 2. 
He was admitted to the bar in Wisconsin, and set- 
tled in Rockford in 185 1, and began the practice 
of law. He held the offices of police magis- 
trate, justice of the peace, town clerk and alder- 
man, and the confidence which the peojjle rc])osed 
in him is attested by his re])eated elections as 
town clerk and justice of the peace. ]\fr. Man- 
love died Xovember 6, i8(p. 

Robert P. Lane, M. D.. was torn in Ho|)cwell, 
I'edford county, Penns\lvania, in 1818. He came 
to Rockford in 1 851. He was a leader in the or- 
ganization of the water-power company, and gave 
his ])ersonal attention to the construction of the 
dam. He was a member of the banking firm of 
Lane, Sanford & Com])anv : one of the organizers 
of the Second Xational liank, and continuously 
served as its president from 1864 to 1881, when 
he resigned to accept the ])residency of the Rock- 
ford Insurance Company. He served as a mem- 
ber of the library board, and was senior warden 
of the Episcopal church for forty \ears. Dr. 
Lane died March 7, 1891. 

.\ntliony Haines was a native of Marietta, 
Pennsylvania, born April 21, 1829. He came to 
Rockford in 1854. and formed a partncr.ship with 
I'^lisha .A. Kirk for buying and shipping grain 
over the Kencxsha railroad. In 1880 he. witli other 
gentlemen, organized the Rockford Street Rail- 
way Company, of which he was elected president 
and general nianager. Mr. Haines, at the time 
of his death in 1898, was vice-president of the 
Manufacturers' National Bank. 

Charles O. L^pton was born in North Reading, 
Massachusetts, in T832, and came to Rockford 
in 1854. ;\rr. l'()ton has been prominent in the 
banking business of the city. He was a director 
of the Second Xational Pank twenty years, and 
the last two years was its vice-president. In 1889 
he led in the organization of the Manufacturers' 
Xational Bank and was its president ten years. 
Mr. L'pton has served the jwblic in the city coun- 
cil, on the county board, and as treasurer of Rock- 
ford one term. 

Carlton W. Slielildu is a native of Xew York, 
born in \'ictor. March 14. 1828. He came to 
Rockford in 1852, entered the law office of Ja- 
son Marsh, and was admitted to the bar in the au- 
tumn of the same year. In 1869 lie entered the 
em|)loy of the Rockford Insurance Company as 
adjuster and remained five years, and in 1874 he 
was elected secretary of the Forest Cit\ Insurance 
Company, and lield this iiosition five years, when 
he resunie<l the practice of law. 

Isaac Utter was a native of Xew York. He 
came to Rockford in 1852. and formed a partner- 



ship with Orlando Clark, on the water-power. 
For twenty-one years he was associated with Levi 
Rhoades. in the manufacture of paper. He was a 
man of energy, and good judgement in business 
affairs. Mr. Utter died May 7, 1888. 

Alexander D. Forbes was born in Perthshire, 
Scotland, December 13. 1S31. He came to Rock- 
ford in 1854, and in partnership with his father, 
Duncan Forbes, began business on the water- 
power. In 1864 they established the first malle- 
able iron works west of Cincinnati. The father 
died in 1871. Mr. Forbes died ]\Iarch 30, 1902. 

Major Elias Cosper was born in Wooster, Ohio, 
in 1824. He came to Rockford in 1854, and en- 
tered the banking house of Robertson, 
Coleman & Company, as teller, and in 
1857 he became its cashier. Upon the 
outbreak of the Civil war Mr. Cosper sold his 
interest in the bank and entered the service with 
Company E, Seventy-fourth Regiment. After 
the battle of Chickamauga he was promoted to 
the rank of major and paymaster of the army. 
Upon his return to civil life. Air. Cosper, in com- 
pany with T. D. Robertson, Alelancthon Starr, 
and John P. Jilanny. organized the John P. 
Manny Reaper Company and was its manager. 
From 1874 Mr. Cosper was connected with the 
Rockford Tack Company, and was its secretary 
and treasurer. He died in 1900. 

John G. Penfield is a native of \'ermont and 
settled in Rockford in 1854. Since that time he 
has been continuously in business as a broker and 
dealer in real estate and insurance. ]\Irs. Pen- 
field gave the lot to the First Congregational 
church on which the parsonage now stands. 

William A. Knowlton was a native of Chautau- 
qua county. New York, and removed to the west 
when a young man. He came to Rockford in 1853 
from Freeport, Illinois. After the death of J. H. 
Alanny. Mr. Knowlton became business agent for 
I\Irs. Alanny. He retained this position for sev- 
eral years, and was eminently successful. Mr. 
Knowlton was subsequently engaged in various 
manufacturing enterprises. He sustained finan- 
cial reverses, and in the autumn of 1891 he re- 
moved to Chicago, where he died September 17th 
of the following year. 

John P. ]\Ianny was born in Amsterdam, New 
York, March 8, 1823. He settled at \\'addam's 
Grove, Stephenson county, in 1842. He came to 
Rockford in 1852, and for several years he man- 
ufactured knife sections for J. H. Manny's ma- 
chines. Early in the sixties he perfected several 
inventions, which were handled by N. C. Thomp- 
son. After the war Mr. Manny became interested 
with the John P. Manny Compan}-. in wliich he 
was associated with Elias Cosper, T. D. Robert- 
son and Melancthon Starr. This company and 
j\lr. Thompson paid him royalities upon his in- 
ventions, and the JNIississippi river was the divid- 

ing line between their respective territories. 
Mr. Alanny's income from this source was at 
one time forty thousand dollars a year. He pur- 
chased the John S. Coleman estate on North Main 
street, which was his home for many years. This 
property is now owned by William Nelson. JNIr. 
Manny died November 16, 1897. 

Among other well-known citizens who came to 
Rockford during this period were : Horace 
Brown, T. J. L. Remington, 1850; J. AI. South- 
gate, Andrew G. Lowry, Horace Buker, 1852 ; 
Jacob Hazlett, D. A. Barnard, Samuel Ferguson, 
1853: Henry Fisher, Melancthon Smith, T. W. 
Carrico, ^^'illiam and George R. Forbes, 1854. 


The agitation for a public library began in 1852. 
Several years elapsed, however, before a library 
was established, and informatiot: concerning 
these early efforts are very meagre. 

The Sinissippi Division No. 134 of the Sons 
of Temperance of Rockford surrendered its char- 
ter to the grand division April 15. 1852. Its for- 
mer members resolved to reorganize under the 
name of the Rockford Library Association. All 
members of the division who had paid their quar- 
terly dues to the close of the preceding quarter, 
were to be equal sharers in the library. A request 
was made in the Forum of April 21st, for the re- 
turn of all books belonging to the library. Thus, 
so far as known, the first circulating library was 
the small number of books owned by the Sons of 
Temperance. The Forum of October 27th pub- 
lished a call for a meeting of the trustees of the 
Library Association for October 30th, and for 
the annual meeting of the stockholders on the 
first Saturday of November. No other refer- 
ence to the library is found immediately there- 

At the annual meeting of the Young Men's As- 
sociation, September 11, 1855, it was proposed 
to extend its sphere of usefulness by providing 
a library and reading-room. A committee of three 
was appointed to confer with the old Library As- 
sociation with a view of obtaining its books. As 
far as can be learned, this effort to establish a li- 
brary and reading-room was not successful. 

It was not until March, 1857, that the first suc- 
cessful effort to establish a library was made. In 
that month a subscription paper was circulated, 
with the following statement of its object: 

"We, the undersigned, agree to take the num- 
ber of shares set opposite our names, in an associ- 
ation to be incorporated under the general law 
of this state, for the purpose of the establish- 
ment of a public library in the city of Rockford. 
Said library to be under the management and 
control of a board of trustees, to be elected by the 



Shares to lie fifty dollars each. Ten dollars 
per share payable iii)oii the foundation of the as- 
sociation, and ten dollars per share per anninii 
thereafter, in such amounts and at such times 
as shall lio tletermined by the said board of trus- 
tees. Shares subject to forfeiture by the trustees, 
for non-payment of installments." 

The first four names u])on the list jjledsjcd 
twelve hundred dollars, and by the autunui i>f 
1858 six thousand dollars had been pledged. Wil- 
liam L. Rowland collected a considerable portion 
of this amount, and a schedule of cash payments 
was preserved by him. which is still in existence. 
The library was duly organized October 14, 1858. 
Rooms were secured on the third floor of Robert- 
son. Coleman & Company's bank. James M. 
Wight, .^celey Perry. Selden M. Church. Pllias 
Cospor. and Thomas D. Robertson constituted 
the first board of trustees ; Elias Cospcr was chair- 
man : Spencer Rising, treasurer ; F. H. Bradley, 
librarian. The original board was composed of 
gentlemen of exceptional literary equipment. 
Others rentlered efficient aid in the selection of 
books. .Among them was William L. Rowland, 
who was subsquently ai)|)ointeil librarian of the 
l)ublic library. The books, although few in nmn- 
ber. possessed very high merit. 

The number of volumes at this time was about 
one thousand : number of magazines and news- 
papers, tliirty-eight. During the next few years 
the li])rary steadily received accessions. Accord- 
ing to the annual rejiort of the stockholders, made 
October 11, i860, there were 1,134 volumes. 
There had lieen drawn during the year ending 
October 4th. 1 .669 volumes. This was an in- 
crease of 396 over the preceding year. Several 
gentlemen acted as librarian for short tcmis. and 
received a nominal com])ensation. .Aiuong those 
who rendered this service were John F. Squier 
and Hosmer P. Holland. 

The library served its jiurposc several years 
but during the war popular interest began to de- 
cline. The library was finally closed, anil 1867 the 
books were sold at public auction in a building 
on Xorth Alain .street, directly north of Air. 
ton's block. .Some of these books are now in the 
puljlic lil)rary. and (|uite a number, in excellent 
condition, are in the private library of Rolx^rt II. 


In the summer of 1856 a movement was begun 
for the founding of a co-educational seminary 
in Rockford. under the control of the Alcthodist 
Episcopal church. February 14, 1837, an act of 
the legislature was approved to incoqioratc the 
Rockford Weslevan seminarv. The incorjjor- 
ators were E. F. \V. Ellis. T. D. Robertson. D. 
W. Ticknor, and \^^ F. Stewart. There were 
to ]}i- twelve trustees, appointed by the stock- 

holders, eight of whom should he members of 
the Methodist Episcopal church. .\ board of 
three visitors was to be a])i)ointed by the annual 
Rock River conference. The company was to 
have a capital stock of one hundred thousand 
dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dol- 
lars each. 

.\ farm of about two lumdred and sixteen 
acres was purchased of William AI. Rowland. 
It adjoined Judge Church's farm on the west 
and extended north to the State road. The pur- 
chase price and accrued interest amounted to 
nearly twenty thousand dollars. A large portion 
of this tract was platted into town lots, and it 
was proposed to build a college su1)urban town. 
The sale of lots occurred .\pril 21). 1857. The 
subscribers to stock |)urchased lots. Rev. W. 
V. Stewart had been transferred from the Ohio 
to the Rock River conference, and had been 
assigned to the Second or Court Street church. 
Rev, Stewart was made purchasing agent for the 
seminary by the annual conference. 

-August 31, 1857, the ceremony of breaking 
ground for the seiuinary building took place 
imder the direction of Rev. T. AI. Eddy, who 
was in attendance upon Rock River conference, 
which was then in session in Rockford. Several 
hundred people were in attendance. An address 
was made by Rev. J. C. Stoughton. agent of 
Clark seminary : and Rev. W. F. Stewart gave a 
brief history of the origin of the seminary 

When the groimd was broken, fiftv-seven 
thousand dollars had been subscribed. The en- 
terprise, however, was unsuccessful. Quite a 
number of houses were built, but in time several 
of them migrated into town on rollers, and the 
land reverted to farming purposes. 

In October, 1857, Rev. .Stewart began the 
l)ublication of the Rockford Weslyan Seminary 
Reporter, in the interest of the seminary. Only 
four numbers were ])ublished. Both Rev. 
Stewart and Rev. Stoughton have died within 
the past few years. 

n.WAKI) TAVI.ok's TRinUTE. 

Bayard Taylor, in a letter to the Tribune, 
l)ublishe(l the spring of 1855, paid Rockford this 
generous tribute: "I last wrote to you from 
Rockford, the most beautiful town in northern 
Illinois. It has the advantage of an admirable 
water-power, furnished by Rock river ; of a rich, 
rolling prairie, which is fast being settled and 
farmed on all sides, of a fine building material 
in its quarries, of soft yellow limestone, re- 
sembling the Roman travertine: and of an mi- 
usually enterprising and intelligent population. 
Knowing all these advantages, I was not sur- 
])rised at the evidence of growth since my first 



visit a year ago. People are flocking in faster 
than room can be furnished, and the foundations 
of two new hotels, on a large scale, show the 
equipments of the place. I was pleased to note 
that taste keeps pace with prosperity here, as 
elsewhere in the northwest. The new Unitarian 
church is a simple but very neat Gothic edifice, 
and the residences, of i\Ir. Holland and Air. Starr 
are very fine specimens of home architecture. 
The grounds of the former are admirably laid 
out ; there is nothing better of the kind on the 


The charter of Winnebago Lodge, No. 31, In- 
dependent Order of Odd Fellows, was issued by 
Geo. W. Woodward, grandmaster of Illinois, in 
1847, to the following named charter members : 
Selden AI. Bronson. Ansel Kenfield, Dewitt Clin- 
ton Briggs, Frederick H. Maxwell, and Rev. 
Nathaniel P. Heath. The lodge was instituted 
August II, 1847. Tlie place of meeting was 
Horsman's block, on the West side. 

Rockford Lodge, No. 102, Alasons, was or- 
ganized February 13, 1851, under a dispensation 
from C. G. Y. Taylor, the grand master. The 
following named citizens constituted its first 
membership : Alfred E. Ames, William Lyman, 
Henry Carpenter, C. H. Spafford, William Hulin, 
E. H. Baker, Ansel Kenfield, John Fraley, James 
P. Burns, W. F. Ward, Jesse Bliiui. and Buel 
G. Wheeler. E. H. Baker was the last survivor 
of this original membership. 

Social Lodge. No. 140, Odd Fellows, was in- 
stituted February 6, 1854. 

Winnebago Chapter, No. 24, Masons, was or- 
ganized December 12, 1854, under a dispensation 
from Louis Watson, grand high priest. The fol- 
lowing constituted its first membership : A. Clark, 
Chauncv Rav. \\'. F. Parish. H. Aliltimore. John 
A. Holland,' L. P. Pettibone, R. H. Cotton, 
Abriam Alorgan, G. D. Palmer, and Ansel Ken- 
field. This chapter was constituted under 
another charter in December, 1855. 

Star in the East Lodge, No. 166, Masons, was 
organized Feljruary 12, 1855, under a dispen- 
sation from James L. Anderson, grand master. 
The charter members were : E. F. W. Ellis. R. 
H. Cotton, W. AI. Bowdoin, William Hulin, S. 
G. Chellis, Jos. K. Smith, Joseph Burns, C. I. 
Horsman, B. G. Wheeler, G. W. Re\molds, John 
A. Holland, C. H. Richings, D. G. Clark. Adam 
AlcClure, Holder Brownell. 

The dispensation for Rockford Encampment, 
No. 44, Odd Fellows, was granted August 5, 
1857, to the following patriarchs as charter mem- 
bers : James Fleming, J. H. Clark, Hugh Strick- 
land, Enos C. Clark. G. A. Stiles, Joseph 
Schloss, and Robert Smith. The encampment 
was instituted by Deputy Grand Patriarch A. E. 
Jenner, August 26, 1857. 

The Rockford Burns Club was organized No- 
vember 5, 1858. It is an association of Scottish- 
Americans, who meet annually on the birthday of 
Robert Burns. 


The death of John A. Holland occurred Sep- 
tember 29, 1855, at Alount Vernon, Ohio, while 
he was on a visit to his father-in-law, who re- 
sided there, in company with his family. The 
remains were brought to Rockford for burial. 
Resolutions of respect were adopted by the 
Alasonic bodies and by the bar of the city. The 
funeral was held at the Unitarian church on 
Sunday. John A. Holland was born in what 
is now West Virginia. He came to Rockford in 
1845, from Wooster, Ohio, where he had prac- 
ticed law. He formed a partnership with T. D. 
Robertson in the practice of his profession. He 
was the attorney for the Galena & Chicago L'nion 
Railroad, and assisted the Illinois Central in se- 
curing the right of way from Chicago to Cairo. 
yiv. FfoUand was an attendant at the Unitarian 
church, but was not a member. He was a man 
of comprehensive mind, great energy and sa- 
gacity, and always operated upon a large scale. 
He was a leading spirit in every public enter- 
prise. The Holland House was named in his 
nonor. Mr. Holland was father of Hosmer P. 
Holland. His second wife was a daughter of 
Dr. J. C. Goodhue. 


Tuesday, November 11. 1856, John F. Tavlor, 
sheriff of Winnebago coimty, was instantly 
killed by Alfred Countrxman. On that day 
Alfred and John Countryman came to Rockford 
from Ogle county with some cattle, which they 
offered for sale at such low prices as to arouse 
suspicion. The cattle were sold for a sum below 
their market value. The purchasers delayed pay- 
ment until notice had been given the sherifT, and 
papers made out for the apprehension of the 
brothers which occurred about nine o'clock in the 
morning. They were then arrested on suspicion ; 
and before they were taken to jail Sheriff Taylor 
searched them for concealed weapons. He found 
pistol balls in Alfred's pockets, and upon inquir- 
ing for his revolver the prisoner replied that he 
had none. Sheriff Taylor, assisted by Constable 
Thompson, then started with the prisoners for 
the jail. Just as they reached the steps Alfred 
Countryman broke away from the sheriff, leaped 
over the fence on Elm street, and ran down that 
street, with the sheriff" in pursuit. At the next 
corner, near the livery stable of Hall & Reynolds, 
the sheriff' had nearly overtaken Countryman, 
and was about to seize him, when the latter drew 
a pistol which he had concealed, and fired. The 



shcritt staggered a few i)aces and fell. His only 
wonls were: "rni shot: catch him." 

Coinitrvnian ran to the woods north of Kent's 
creek, with Innidreds of infuriated citizens in pur- 
suit. John I'latt was the first to overtake him. 
He took his pistol from him. and, with assistance, 
secured his arrest. .Amid threats of lynching, 
the prisoner was placed in jail and securely 
ironed. Samuel 1. Cluirch. the sheriff-elect, 
hriefly addressed the crowd and assmed them 
that the prisoner was secure. 

Sheriff Taylor was thirty-one years of age, 
anil left a wife, and a son a year and a half old. 
He was an excellent officer, and was held in high 
respect by the community. The funeral was held 
TInirsdav' on the public square adjoining the 
jail, imder tlie charge of the .Masonic fraternity. 
The board of supervisors were in attendance in 
a body. The discourse was preachcil by Rev. 
W. F.' Stewart. 


t. (Hint ry man was indicted and tried for the 
murder of Sheriff Taylor at the February term 
of the circuit court in 1857. The prosecution was 
conducted by U. D. Meacham, the state's attorney, 
assisted by William Hrown. The counsel for 
the defense was Orrin Miller and T. J. Turner. 
The following gentlemen constituted the jury: 
Levi Tunks, Philo C. ^^'atson. Anthonv M. 
Felmly, Silas G. Tyler, Jacob B. Place, G. R. 
Ames, Allen Rice, Charles \\'orks, J. W. Jenks, 
Edward Peppers, J. W. Knapp, S. P. CoUer. The 
trial began on Monday, February 23d. The case 
was given to the jury on Thursday, and Friday 
morning they returned a verdict of guilty. Judge 
Sheldon pronounced the sentence of death upon 
CountrxTnan. One of his counsel, Mr. Miller, 
tried to obtain a stay of proceedings, so as to 
bring the case Ijeforc the supreme court. But 
Judge Caton refused to grant a writ of error. 

On Friday. March 27th. Countryman was 
executed on the farm of Sheriff Church, a short 
distance from the city. The execution was 
witnessed by eight thousand people. In the ab- 
sence of a military company, the two fire com- 
panies, armed with sabres and carbines, formed 
a hollow square at the jail, into the center of 
which the carriages which were to form the pro- 
cession, were driven, and as the procession moved 
to tlie place of execution the fire companies 
formed a strong guard. Upon arriving at the 
scaffold. Rev. Hooper Crews offered an earnest 
prayer. The prisoner made a short speech and 
professed repentence and forgiveness for his 
crime. At seventeen minutes past two the bolt 
was withdrawn, and Countryman was swung 
into eternity. His father, sister and one brother 
witnessed the execution. Before the body was 

taken down, Sheriff Church addressed the crowd 
as follows: "These ])ainful i)roceedings being 
now concluded, and the sword of justice about to 
be returned to its sheath, I hope never again to 
be drawn into so much severity. I would thank 
you all for the good order you have maintained. 
Your conduct does credit to the city, and I hope 
you will observe the same decorum in retiring." 


In 1856 was projected a railroad to connect 
Kenosha on Lake Michigan with Rockford. It 
was a ])art of the original plan that this line 
should extend from Rockford to Rock Island. 
January 20, 1857, a charter was granted John M. 
Cai)ron. Egbert Ayer, Thomas Paul, John Cor- 
nell. W. 1!. ( )gden, John Bradley, Jason Marsh, 
George Haskell, David S. Penfielil. Robert P. 
Lane, C. C. Briggs, C. H. Spafford, A. S. Mil- 
ler, Jesse Blinn, and Seely Perry. The com- 
])any was to have a capital stock of eight hun- 
jlred thousand dollars, to be divided into shares 
of one hundred dollars each, and was authorized 
to construct a road from a point near the state 
line in McHcnry county to Rockford. This road 
was built as a means of relieving Rockford from 
burdens imposed by the high freight and pas- 
senger rates of the Galena & Chicago L'nion. 

Books for subscriptions to the stock of the 
road were opened early in November, 1856, and 
on the 25th of the same month the company was 
organized by the election of the following of- 
ficers: President, C. H. Spafford: vice-presi- 
dent, R. P. Lane : secretary, E. H. Baker ; 
treasurer. A. C. Spaft'ord : executive committee, 
J. P.ond, J. M. Capron, R. P. Lane, D. S. Pen- 
field and Seely Perry. The subscriptions were 
made largely by farmers along the line, who 
gave mortgages on their real estate to secure their 
|)ayments. 'The company negotiated these mort- 
gages in ])aymcnt for iron, labor and other ex- 
jienses in the building of the road. \\'hen these 
obligations matured man\- of the subscribers 
could not redeem them, and the holders of the 
mortgages foreclosed them. 

The contract for the construction of the road 
to Harvard was made in March, 1857, and the 
work was begun shortly afterwards. The east- 
ern division of the road was under the control of 
another comjiany, organized under a charter from 
the Wisconsin legislature. The progress of con- 
struction was impeded by financial embarrass- 
ments, arising from the great depression which 
spread over the country in 1857, and the enter- 
prise languished. In .\ugnst, 1858, the company 
a]iplied to the council of Rockford for a loan of 
the city credit to the amoinit of $50,000 to aid 
in the completion of the road. An election was 
held September 2, and the measure was carried by 



a majority of more than five hundred. This is 
the only instance in the history of Rockford of 
the loan of the credit of the corporation to a 

November 21, 1859, the road was completed 
between Rockford and Harvard, and the event 
w^as celebrated by a banquet at the Holland 
House the same evening. In 1864 the Galena & 
Chicago Union Railroad Company was absorbed 
by the Chicago & Northwestern, and the 
Kenosha & Rockford road, as a matter of course, 
soon came under the same control. 


The most beautiful home in early Rockford 
was that of Mrs. J. H. Manny, on South Main 
street. The "Manny mansion" was built in 1854, 
by John A. Holland. The grounds had a front- 
age of three hundred and twenty-five feet, and 
e.xtended from the northern limit of G. N. Saf- 
ford & Company's lumber yard to a point below 
Kent's creek, and were fronted by a stone fence. 
The beauty of these grounds was due, in large 
measure, to John Blair, a Scottish landscape 
gardener who came from Canada at Mr. Hol- 
land's solicitation. He laid out the grounds, and 
set the standard for landscape gardening in 
Rockford, and in this way he left his impress on 
the city. Mr. Blair subsequently laid out the 
grounds of the Elgin insane asylum. After the 
death of Mr. Holland, in 1855, financial reverses 
overtook his family, and about i860 this splendid 
estate passed into the ownership of Mrs. J. H. 


At the presidential election in November, 1856, 
Winnebago county gave John C. Fremont a mag- 
nificent vote. Every town in the county was 
carried for the Pathfinder. The total vote of 
the county was 4,154. The county gave a ma- 
jority of 3,179 for Fremont over Buchanan. The 
First Congressional district gave majorities for 
Fremont and Washburne of more than twelve 
thousand. William Lathrop was elected repre- 
sentative : Samuel I. Church, sheriff ; H. T. Mes- 
ler, coroner; Morris B. Derwent, circuit clerk. 
Mr. Church was a brother of Jvidge Church, and 
came to Rockford in 1848. He purchased a 
quarter of the school section ; later he made it his 
home, where he died in 1886. 


In 1856 a military company was organized, 
under the name of the Rockford City Greys, 
which enkindled the enthusiasm of a large num- 
ber of the young men of the city. In the sum- 
mer of 1858 Colonel E. E. Ellsworth was en- 

gaged as drillmaster, and under his instruction 
the company attained a high degree of proficiency. 
In September, 1858, an encampment was held on 
the fairgrounds, which continued four days. 
Companies from Freeport, Elgin and Chicago 
were in attendance. This company continued in 
e.xcellent condition until the outbreak of the Civil 
war. when under the name of Rockford Zouaves, 
man\- of the company volunteered in the three 
months' service, under the call of the president 
for seventy-five thousand men ; and as a part of 
the Eleventh Illinois Volunteers, were detailed to 
garrison duty at Cairo and at Bird's Point. 


August 17, 1858, the completion of the Atlantic 
cable was celebrated by the citizens of Rockford 
with great demonstrations of enthusiasm. On 
that day the queen of England and the president 
of the United States exchanged messages. The 
event was celebrated in Rockford by a salute of 
fifty guns, fired by the City Greys, and the church 
bells were rung. Public exercises were held in 
the evening at the courthouse. Addresses were 
made by James L. Loop, Judge Miller, E. W. 
Blaisdell, Judge Church, William Hulin, and 
Dr. L\Tnan. The speech of Mr. Loop was ex- 
ceptionally brilliant, and replete with noble 
thought. One paragraph from this address is 
quoted : "Great Britain and the United States — 
the two great maritime nations of the globe, have 
met in mortal combat upon that briny deep ; they 
have fought for the sea's supremacy, they have 
maintained on either side with all their prowess 
and power their respective country's glory, and 
well and gloriously have their names resounded 
through the world — but no victory ever won by 
either upon the ocean can compare with this joint 
victory we have met to celebrate." 

CENSUS OF i860. 

In i860 the census of the city of Rockford, 
taken by Thos. Boyd, showed a population of 
7,046, and 8,117 in the township. In 1836 there 
were 350 white inhabitants in the county, which 
included Boone, and the eastern half of Stephen- 
son. In June, 1837, after Winnebago had been 
reduced to its present size, the county had a 
population of 1,086. In 1839 the village of Rock- 
ford had 235 inhabitants, and in December, 1845, 
there were 1,278. In 1840 there were 2,563 in 
Rockford township, and in 1855 there were 


On Tuesday evening. May 19, 1857, a chari- 
vari resulted in the instant death of one of the 
party. Hon. William Bebb, Ex-Governor of 



Ohio, was resiclinij in Seward township. His 
son, M. S. T'fbl). liad just rcturiifd from the east 
with iiis bride. Twelve yonni; men of the neisjh- 
borluHid iiropo.sed to eharivari the liridal ])arty. 
They as.senibled at the jjovernor's liousc about 
eleven o'clock at iiisht. and began their ]}erforni- 
ance with cowl)ells, tin pans, three guns, and 
other articles which could contribute to the 
hideous din. The governor at length appeared 
wiih a shot-gun and ordered them to retire. Thev 
l)aid no heed and Mr. Fiebb fired one barrel, 
which took effect in the face of William Hogan. 
The ])arty then ai)i)roached nearer the house, as 
for an assault, wlien the governor discharged 
the second liarrel at the leader. Lemuel Clemens, 
and instantly killed him. The crowd then speed- 
ily dis])ersed. 

The trial of (iovernor I'.ebb. for manslaughter, 
began February 4. 1858. in the circuit court. 
Judge Sheldon jiresiding. The pro.secution was 
conducted by V. D. Aleacham. the state's at- 
torney, who was assisted by T. J. Turner. The 
counsel for the defense was the famous Tom 
Corwin. of Ohio, assisted by Judge William John- 
son, James L. Looj), and Judge ,\nson S. Miller. 
The trial began in the courthouse, and in order to 
secure more room, an adjourniiieiit was taken to 
Metro])olitan Hall. 

The greatest interest was manifested in the 
trial by reason of the reputation of the defend- 
ant and the celebrity of Mr. Corwiu. .\ large 
number of ladies were daily in attendance. The 
jury consi.sted of the following named gentle- 
men : John Spaff<ird, Putnam Pcrlev, ^^'^i^iam 
A. Pheijis, Joel \\'. Thompson, Horace Hitch- 
cock, L. D. Waldo, P.altus Heagle. Pienjaniiii F. 
Long, John Morse, .^. M. Preston, B. K. Town. 
Isaac Manes. 

I'lOth sides of the case were argued with great 
ability. The central figure was, of course, Mr. 
Corwin. The Register, in reporting his address 
to the jury, said: "It was just such a speech as 
Tom Corwin akme can make, and was listened 
to with breathless attention. It lasted some four 
hours, during which time he went over every 
particular of the case, applying the law to each 
point, and showing under what circumstances a 
man may kill another, and also detailing in great 
beauty of language the manner in which the 
people had become possessed of the inalienable 
right to enjoy their homes in peace, and un- 

The case was given to the jury at five o'clock 
Monday afternoon, and at nine o'clock they re- 
turned with a verdict of not guilty. The Register 
concluded ([uite a full report of the trial with 
a commendation of the jury for their righteous 

M. S. liebb, whose marriage was the occasion 
of this di>turbance, became a well known citi- 

zen of Rockford. He had quite an extended 
re]iutation in the scientific world, and was recog- 
nized as the highest authority u])on some species 
of the willow. .Mr. I'.ebb was for some years 
a member of the public library board. 

Till-: i.i.\(()i..\-:)(iiGi..\s i>i:ii.\Ti:. 

riu' famous Lincoln-Douglas debate was an 
event of local interest as well as national sig- 
nificance. In A])ril, 1S58. the Illinois State 
Democratic convention endorsed Stephen A. 
Douglas for the L'nited .States senate, .\braham 
Lincoln was nominated by the republican party 
at S])ringfield, June 17th. July 24th .Mr. Lincoln 
sent a challenge to Judge Douglas to discuss the 
political issues of the day in a series of joint de- 
bates. The latter accepted a challenge, and 
named one city in each congressional district, 
excei)t the second and sixth, where they had al- 
ready spoken. Ottawa. Freeport. Galesburg, 
Quincy. .\lton. Joiu-sboro and Charleston were 
the points chosen for these discussions. 

The second and most famous debate was held 
at Freei)ort. August 27th. It was the greatest 
political event ever hekl in this congressional dis- 
trict. Thousands were in attendance from the 
northern counties, and the excitement was in- 
tense. .\ special train was made up at Marengo, 
and run over the (lalena & Chicago L^nion road. 
It consisted of eighteen coaches, eight of which 
were filled with Rockford citizens. 

It was at this debate that Mr. Lincoln pro- 
pounded the four celebrated questions to Judge 
Douglas, the answers to which swept away his 
last chance for .securing the jiresidency in i860. 
Previous to this debate, a conference was held at 
the r.rewster House, at which E. P>. Washburne 
and Joseph Medill urged Mr. Lincoln to refrain 
trom such interrog-ations. But Lincoln was in- 
sistent. He said that if Judge Douglas answered 
them one way he would lose his prestige with 
the south : and if he answered them the other 
way, he could not retain the leadership of the 
northern wing of his party. 

The result justified Mr. Lincoln's prophecy. 
"Of that answer at Freeport,'' as Mr. Herndon 
puts it, Douglas "instantly died. The red- 
gleaming southern tomahawk flashed high and 
keen. Douglas was removed out of Lincoln's 
wav. The wind was taken out of Seward's 
sails ( bv the house-divided speech), and Lincoln 
stooil out ])rominent." 

The election occurred on the 2d of Novem- 
ber. Mr. Lincoln received a majority of over 
four thousand of the popular vote, yet the re- 
turns from the legislative districts foreshadowed 
his defeat. .-Kt the senatorial election in the legis- 
lature. Judge Douglas received fifty-four votes, 
and Mr. Lincoln forty-six — one of the results of 
the unfair a])()ortioiiment law then in o|)eration. 




Charles ^^'illiams was a native of Massachu- 
setts. He came to Rockford in 1855, and with 
his son Lewis, was engaged in the hardware 
business. ]\Ir. Williams was the war mayor of 
Rockford, serving from 1859 to 1864. His home 
was the residence now owned by John Barnes. 
^Ir. \\'illiams died in 1876. 

^^'illiam M. Rowland came to Rockford in 

1855. He was a native of Connecticut, and when 
a young man he removed to Augusta. Georgia, 
where he was interested in the Iron Steamboat 
Company. Soon after the repeal of the Missouri 
compromise, Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, mem- 
ber of congress, informally received the promi- 
nent citizens of Augusta. Mr. Rowland is said 
to have been the only gentlenian present who 
did not offer congratulations to Mr. Stephens 
upon the repeal 01 that law, but assured him that 
it would prove a calamity to the south. 

William L. Rowland was graduated from Yale 
college in the class of 1852, and removed to Rock- 
ford with his father's family in 1855. \Mien the 
public library was founded in 1872, Mr. Row- 
land was appointed librarian, and he retained this 
position until his death in 1900. 

Benjamin Blakeman was a native of Strat- 
ford, Connecticut. He came to Rockford in 

1856, and carried on the lumber business, first 
on South Court, and later on South Main street. 
About 1 87 1 he formed a partnership with Wil- 
liam Dobson, in manufacturing. Mr. Blakeman 
is now retired from business. 

Colonel Garret Nevius, a native of New York, 
came to Rockford in 1858. He was a member 
of the Rockford City Greys, and in 1861 he en- 
listed with the Eleventh Illinois ^"olunteers, and 
arose to the rank of colonel. He was killed in 
the charge of Ransom's brigade on the enemy's 
works at Mcksburg, Mav 22, 1863. Memorial 
services were held on the courthouse square, in 
Rockford, where the remains lay in state, and an 
address was delivered by Dr, Kerr. His body 
was then sent to New York for burial. Colonel 
Nevius was only twenty-six years of age. 
Nevius Post, G. A. R., was named in his honor. 

Robert H. Tinker was born at Honolulu, 
Sandwich Islands, in 1837, where his father. Rev. 
Reuben Tinker, was a missionary, sent out by the 
Presbyterian church. IMr. Tinker came to Rock- 
ford in 1856. He built the Swiss cottage on 
Kent creek, the most picturesque home in the 
city. The plan of his unique library, on two 
floors, with winding stairway, was suggested to 
Mr. Tinker by his" visit to' Sir Walter Scott's 
library, more than forty years ago. He was 
elected Mayor of Rockford in 1875, and served 
one term. Mr. Tinker has been interested in 
various manufacturing enterprises. 

John H. Hall came to Rockford in 1855, and 
engaged in the grocery trade. He served the 
city as alderman, and as a member of the school 
board. The Hall school is named in his honor. 
His death occurred in 1882. 

Lucius ]\I. West was born at Vernon Centre, 
New York, June 19, 1820. He was united in 
marriage to Miss Sarah A. Sturtevant, of his 
native county. In 1858 Mr. and Mrs. West and 
their three sons came to Rockford. In 1862 Mr. 
west built the store now occupied by Peer's 
jewelry store, where he carried on trade in rub- 
ber goods and boots and shoes. About 1874 he 
engaged in the manufacture and jobbing of 
enamel carriage top dressing, which has attained 
a world-wide re]5utation. Mr. West was actively 
identified with the religious interests of the city. 
In 1875 '''£ appointed a religious service for 
Woodruff's Addition, and for three years and a 
half conducted a mission school there, and fur- 
nished the building at his own expense. He died 
.\ugust 20, 1893. 

Charles L. Williams was born in Sherburne, 
Qienango county. New York, October 20, 1828. 
He was graduated from Hamilton college in 
1847. and in 1 85 1 he received the degree of M. 
A. from his alma mater. 'Mr. Williams came to 
Rockford in 1859 and engaged in mercantile busi- 
ness. He married a daughter of Mayor Charles 
Williams and subsequently purchased his father- 
in-law's house on North Main street, which in- 
cluded the lots now belonging to John Barnes 
and Mrs. Julia P. Warren. Air. Williams took 
an active interest in organizing the public 
library, and from 1872 to 1878 he was a member 
of the board of directors. 

Daniel N. Hood was born in Salem, Massa- 
chusetts, September 25, 1834, and came to Rock- 
ford in 1858. Prof. Hood was for many years at 
the head of the nuisical department of Rockford 
seminarv, and for more than ten years of this 
period he w-as organist of the Second Presby- 
terian church in Chicago. Prof. Hood now re- 
sides in Boston. 

Gilbert Woodruff' was born near Watertown, 
New York, November 20, 1817. He came to 
Rockford in 1857, and soon after he purchased 
and platted a farm which is now known as 
Woodruff's Addition, Easy terms of payment 
were given purchasers of lots. Mr. Woodruff 
was therefore in a real sense one of the builders 
of Rockford. He had been president of the 
Rockford National Bank since its organization ; 
president of the Forest City Insurance Company 
since its organization in 1873 ; and president of 
the Forest City Furniture Factory since 1875. 
Air. Woodruff was mayor of Rockford from 
1873 to 1873. He died in Rockford in October, 

Horace \\". Tavlor was born in Granby, Mas- 




sacluisetts. February i, 1823. He was gradu- 
ated from Amherst in 1848. In 1857 he came 
to Rockford and was admitted to the bar in the 
autumn of the same year. For forty years Mr. 
Taylor was a well known member of the legal 
profession of this city. In 1866 he began his 
work as master-in-chancery under appointment 
of Judge Sheldon. This position he held until 
his death, e-xcept an interim from 1872 to 1876. 
Mr. Taylor was elected a member of the legis- 
lature in 1878, and served one term. His death 
occurred at a sanitarium at Kenosha, August 
29. 1898. 

Marquis L. Gorham was a native of Vermont, 
and came to Rockford in 1857. He obtained a 
patent for a seeder manufactured by Clark & 
I'tter. and for a corn cultivator made by N. C. 
Thompson. He was also the inventor of the 
\ first twine binder, the patent for which was sold 
L to C. H. McCormick. Mr. Gorham died at Phila- 
delphia in 1876. while attending the Centennial 
exposition, when he was only about forty-five 
years of age. 

Norman Cornelius Thompson was born in 
Knoxville, Georgia, May 25, 1828. He came to 
Rockford in 1857. He built one of the largest 
manufacturing plants on the water-power, and 
his immense output contributed in no small de- 
gree to the prestige of Rockford as a manufactur- 
ing city. Mr. Thompson was a public-spirited 
citizen, and a generous sup])orter of the First 
Presbyterian church. Financial reverses over- 
took him in 1884, which resulted in the suspen- 
sion of his bank in East Rockford, and his re- 
tirement from his manufacturing industry. Mr. 
Thompson died July 4, 1898. 

Thomas Butterworth was born in Manchester, 
England, September 6. 1827. In his twentieth 
year he came to America, and landed at New 
Orleans. On account of yellow fever, he im- 
mediately went to Cincinnati. He entered the 
employ of Stacy & Company, the proprietors of 
the Cincinnati gas works, and in their interest 
he was sent to repair the works in Rockford 
about 1856. The latter plant was then owned by 
Lane, Sanford & Co. He remained in Rockford 
and assumed the management of the works. He 
also continued the business of contractor, and 
built Brown's Hall, the old People's Bank Build- 
ing on State street, and other buildings. He 
subsequently sold his contracting business, and 
in time became the sole owner of the gas plant. 
In 1878 Mr. Butterworth was elected a member 
of the legislature, as a democrat, and served one 
term. His death occurred at Ashville, North 
Carolina. .April 5, 1885. 

William H. Townsend came to Rockford in 
1857, from Springfield, Pennsylvania. He was 
in artluent circumstances. I lis home was on 

.South Third street, well known in later years as 
the residence of Dr. D. S. Clark. Mr. Townsend 
was a stockholder and director of the Rock 
River Mutual F'irc Insurance Company, and the 
later reverses of the company were a source of 
such an.xiety to him that he became deranged, 
June 2, 1869. his body was found in Rock river, 
about four and a half miles south of the city. ^Ir. 
Townsend was about si.xty years of age, and had 
been a member of the board of education. He 
was held in high esteem, and his death was a 
great shock to the community. 

F. H. Manny came to Rockford in 1859. He 
was a cousin of John P. and John H. Manny. 
For some years he was engaged in manufactur- 
ing on the water-power. His home was the resi- 
dence owned later by W. F. Iludler. on the South 
side. He met willi reverses in 1875, went to 
W'aukegan, and from there to Chicago. Mr. 
Manny died in Chicago, .\pril 15, 1899, at the 
age of eighty-two years. The remains were 
brought to Rockford for interment. 

.\niong other well known citizens who came 
to Rockford during this period are the follow- 
ing: George frufant, George H. Dennett. Wm. 
McKinlev, 1855: .A. C. Burpee, 1856: David 
Kevt. S.'F. Penfield. D. S. Hough, H. B. Hale, 
W.'H. Smith, C. .\. Shaw. 1857: John R. Porter, 

Other citizens engaged in active business dur- 
ing the fifties were: L. H. Todd, dealer in boots 
and shoes ; Thomas Ennett, contractor : D. Miller, 
boots and shoes ; J. W. Seccomb. books ; C. T. 
Sackett, painter; W. G. Johnson, painter; Rob- 
ert Smith, hatter ; J. B. Agard, grain buyer ; 
Joseph Burns, dry goods ; \\'m. Lyman, physi- 
cian ; John Fraley, druggist ; Israel Sovereign, 
hardware dealer. 

Several early settlers should have been men- 
tioned in their proper chronological order. 
.\mong these was Levi Rhoades, born at Hins- 
dale, New York, June 23, 1830. In 1847 he came 
to Rockford. He learned the cooper's trade, and 
during the war he laid the foundation of a large 
estate in supplying the demand for barrels. He 
continued in this business until 1884. Mr. 
Rhoades was interested in many manufacturing 
cnterjirises. and was a man of great force and 
executive ability. He was elected mayor of Rock- 
ford in 187^). and served one year. His death oc- 
curred November 19. 1891. 

W. D. Trahcrn was born in Loudoun county, 
N'irginia, March 24, 1824. In 1848 he came to 
Rockford. and the following year he began the 
manufacture of threshing-machines. In 1862 
Mr. Trahern engaged in the manufacture of iron 
l)umps. Mr. Trahern was successful in business, 
a considerate employer, and was highly esteemed. 
He died No /ember' 2, 1883. 



The presidential election of i860 marked an 
epoch in American history. The nation had come 
to the parting of the ways. Mr. Lincoln's 
prophecy that the g-overnment could not per- 
manently endure half slave and half free, was 
about to be demonstrated before the world. Mr. 
Lincoln, by reason of his profound insight into 
the political situation, which he had shown in his 
debates with Jndge Douglas, was the logical can- 
didate of his party. 

The nomination of Mr. Lincoln was received 
with great enthusiasm by the citizens of Rock- 
ford. In August the Rockford Wide Awake 
Club was organized. Its object was co-operation 
for the success of republican principles and the 
election of Mr. Lincoln. 

Saturday, September ist, was a republican 
rally day. The Wide Awake Clubs from neigh- 
boring towns were present. The special attrac- 
tion was Cassius M. Clay, the celebrated orator 
of Kentucky. The exercises were held on the 
courthouse square, and it was estimated that 
fully twelve thousand people were in attendance. 
The first speech was made by Hon. James H. 
Baker, secretary of state of Minnesota. Mr. 
Clay was introduced by Judge S. M. Church. 
"His oratory," said the Register, "is not of the 
fervid kind, but he is a calm, cool, deliberate 
speaker, laying out his ideas into square blocks 
of solid argument and building up an edifice sup- 
ported b}- facts and figures which it is absolutely 
impossible to undermine or batter down." 

During September and October, a series of 
joint discussions was held by Judge Allen C. 
Fuller, of Belvidere, and John A. Rawlins, of 
Galena, on the political issues of the day. One 
joint debate was held in each county of the First 
congressional district. Judge Fuller was the re- 
publican candidate for presidential elector, and 
Mr. Rawlins was the candidate of the Douglas 
democracv. One discussion was held in Rock- 
ford, September 29th. These debates have a 
historic interest by reason of the subsequent 
prominence of the participants. Judge Fuller be- 
came the war adjutant of the state, and in this 
capacity he displayed great executive ability, and 
was the able supporter of Governor Yates, in the 
organization of the military forces of the state. 
Judge Fuller died in Belvidere in December, 
1901. Upon the outbreak of the war in 1861, 
Mr. Rawlins came promptly to the support of 
the union cause ; he was the confidential friend 
and adviser of General Grant during his cam- 
paigns, and in i86g he became his secretary of 

Among other gentlemen who made addresses 
in Rockford during the campaign were Judge 
Lyman Trumbull, Stephen A. Hurlbut, Governor 

Bebb, Melancthon Smith, Colonel Ellis, James 
L. Loop and Judge Church. Richard Yates and 
Owen Lovejoy made speeches at Belvidere, Oc- 
tober 9th. 

The presidential election was held November 
6th. Winnebago county cast 3,985 votes for 
Aljraham Lincoln and 817 for Judge Douglas; 
Richard Yates received 3,986 votes for governor, 
and Mr. Allen 826. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln was perhaps the 
most notable event in the life of the nation. 
The shouts of victory had scarcely died away 
when one southern state after another openly 
revolted from the authority of the union. The 
election of Mr. Lincoln brought the sword, rather 
than peace. But the sword was drawn in a holy 
cause. For two hundred and fifty years the 
irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery 
had continued. The "land of the free" had made 
iniquity her law. Alillions of bondsmen wet the 
soil with their tears and blood. Cause and effect, 
the chancellors of God, had come to enforce the 
truth that there were rights that states must keep 
or they shall suffer for their sins. Victor Hugo 
says of Napoleon at Waterloo: "For Bonaparte 
to be conqueror at Waterloo was not in the law 
of the nineteenth century. * * * When earth 
is suffering from a surcharge there are mysterious 
moanings from the deeps that the heavens hear. 
Napoleon had been impeached before the Infinite 
and his fall was decreed. He vexed God. Wa- 
terloo is not a battle ; it is the change of front of 
the universe." So the slave-power had overleaped 
itself, and could no longer resist the advance of 
a more enlightened Christian civilization. 

Abraham Lincoln was the divinely appointed 
man for the hour. There seem to be certain 
superhuman adjustments that philosophy does 
not explain, that work out righteous results. Hu- 
man wisdom does not foresee them : they do not 
destro\- human freedom, but they do achieve 
their results with infallible certainty. The lead- 
ers of such events are like Aeneas in the fable : 
they are often covered with a cloud woven by 
divine fingers, and men do not see them. But 
when they are needed the cloud breaks away, 
and they stand before the world prepared to do 
their work. Such a man was Abraham Lincoln. 
He was called to lead in a war made holy by the 
quickened moral conscience of the nation. Poets, 
and reformers and statesmen had cast up the 
highwav for the King, who should visit the na- 
tion with chastening. This judgment day was 
at hand, because Phillips and Garrison and Sum- 
ner had come : because Whittier and Lowell and 
Harriet Beecher Stowe had come ; because Lin- 
coln and Seward and Chase had come : because 
Grant and Sherman and Sheridan had come ; 
because the great and terrible day of the Lord 
had come. 




As soon as the ek-clion of Abraham I.iiicohi 
was definitely ascertained, the legislature of South 
Carolina smnmoned a sovereiiji) convention of 
the people of that state, which met December 17, 
i860. Three days later this convention adopted 
an ordinance of secession, which declared the state 
no longer a member of the union. Mississippi 
seceded January (). 1861 : I'^Iorida, January 10; 
Alabama, January 11; Cleorg^ia. January 19; 
Louisiana. January 26; Texas. I-'ebruary i. The 
forts, arsenals and other federal jiropcrty within 
the limits of these states were seized by the au- 
thorities thereof, with the exceptions of Forts 
Moultrie and Sumter. 

Deleg-atcs from the seceding' states met at 
Montgomery, .\labama. February 4, 1861, and 
proceeded at once to organize a new rejjublic. with 
the name of the Confederate States of America. 
F'ebruary 8th a provisional government was de- 
clared, with Jefferson Davis as president. April 
8th Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, was 
notified b\- the general government of its inten- 
tion to relieve Fort Sumter at all hazards. 
Governor Pickens at once informed General 
lleauregard of this official notification, and the 
news was sent by him to the Confederate gcvem- 
mcnl at .Montgomery. Its secretary of war there- 
upon ordered (ieneral Beauregard to demand the 
immediate surrender of Fort Sumter. 

On Friday morning, .April 12th, the Confederate 
batteries opened fire upon the fort. The bom- 
bardment lasted thirty-two hours. Late in the 
afternoon of the 13th Major .\nders()n. in com- 
mand of the fort, agreed to capitulate, and the 
firing ceased. On the morning of Sundav. .Viiril, Fort Sumter was surrendered to the Con- 
federate forces, and Major Anderson and his gar- 
rison sailed at once for New York. Treason had 
struck the decisive blow ; war was inevitable. 


To the late Dr. Tliomas Kerr belongs the honor 
of preaching the first war sermon in Rockford. 
He was then pastor of the First na])tist church. 
Sunday morning, .\pril I4tli. the startling news 
was received that .Sumter had fallen. It was one 
of the critical moments in the nation's life. Under 
its solemn inspiration Dr. Kerr preached an im- 
pressive, patriotic discourse Sunday afternoon in 
the liaptist church. l"or the first time in the 
history of Rockford, the .American flag graced 
the sanctuary of the God of battles. It was a 
symbol of the true union of church and state. 
But it was then an innovatii>n. Public worship 
was then of the "churchly" sort. Questions of 
the ilay had not been discussefl in the ])ulpit. The 
Civil war made the services of the church more 

practical and less theological. The pendulum has 
never swung back. 

.'Sunday afternoon. .April 28, 1861. Dr. Kerr 
preached aiinther stirring war semion in the 
Ba])tist church. The auditorium was crowded 
and the pastor preached a semion of great power. 
Several times during its delivery his noble senti- 
ments were greeted with outbursts of applause. 
None of Dr. Kerr's local contemporaries in the 
ministry are now living. The hearts moved by 
the elocjuence of that hour have ceased to beat. 
The aged preacher himself was almost the last 
survivor of that historic day. 

Dr. Kerr was asked to rei)eat this discourse to 
a larger audience. He responded in Metropolitan 
Hall Sunday evening. May 5. 

Monday morning. .April 15th, President Lin- 
coln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 
volunteers to "subdue combinations too powerful 
to be supi)ressed by the ordinary course of judi- 
cial proceedings, and to cause the laws to be duly 
executed." On the same day a dispatch was re- 
ceived at .'^pringfield. stating that the quota of 
Illinois under the president's call was six regi- 
ments of militia. (Governor Yates therefore issued 
a proclamation, convening the legislature in 
special session, .Ajiril 23(1, for the ]nir])ose of 
putting the state upon a more effective war foot- 

The attack upon Sumter obliterated all party 
lines in Winnebago county, and friends and oppo- 
nents of the administration sprang to arms to de- 
fend the government from the assaults of traitors. 
It is said that when Cadnnis of old needed men 
he sowed dragons' teeth, and forthwith from the 
ground came warriors armed for battle. So when 
Treason threw down the gauntlet, loyal legions 
of freedom acce|)ted the gage of battle. 


The war record of Winnebago countv has 
never been fidly written, and no com])lete history 
can be assured in the future. Owing to failures 
to make ])roi)er retiuMis at Springfield, even the 
adjutant-general's reports are only apiiroximate- 
ly correct. The late General Fuller did much to 
com|)lete the records, but he could not achieve 
the impossible. S(ime enlisted in regiments or- 
ganized in other states, and in many instances 
credit was not ])ro|)erly given. The scope of this 
work does not admit a full treatment of even the 
available sources of information, but the brief 
outline is believed to be correct. 

Ten days after the fall of Sumter the first 
com|)any (^f Rockford volunteers marcherl to the 
front to the "wild, grand music of war." They 
bore the name of the Rockford Zouaves. The 
story of their origin may be briefly noted. Dur- 
ing the Lincoln campaign a "Wide-Awake" 



niarcliinij;- club was organized, in command of 
Captain Garrett L. Xevius. When the presiden- 
tial campaign was over they were reluctant to 
abandon the organization, and when Captain Nev- 
ius proposed a military company, it met w"ith gen- 
eral favor. A meeting was held December 26, 
i860, at the photograph gallery of Barnes, Nevius 
& Company, when preliminary steps were taken, 
and January 3, 1861. the Rockford Zouaves were 
formally organized. The\' had. of course, no idea 
of the future before them. 

Garrett L. Nevius was chosen captain ; R. A. 
Bird, first lieutenant : \\'. D, E. Andrus, second 
lieutenant : R. S. Norman, ensign : F. F. Peats, 
orderly sergeant ; H. H. Dean, second sergeant ; 
J. H. Manny, third sergeant; C. B. Hull, fourth 
sergeant ; Randolph D. Hobart, first corporal : E. 
Lugrin, second corporal : Thomas Anvon, third 
corporal : O. C. Towne. fourth corporal ; I. S. 
Hyatt, secretary, and C. T. Jellerson, treasurer. 

Aleetings for drill were held during the winter. 
January 17, 186 1, resolutions were adopted to 
the effect that they should hold themselves in 
readiness to respond to any possible call for 

At a meeting held February 2d the South 
Rockford band was admitted to membership. 
This band consisted of F. A[. Xeedham and J. A. 
Hobart, drummers, and C. H. Alarsh. fifer. They 
entered with the imderstanding that they w^ere to 
have no more privileges than any of the other 
members. Xeedham and Hobart entered the 
service as drummers, and Needham is now drum- 
ming for Nevius post. 

April 13th there was an impressive meeting of 
the Zouaves. Captain Xevius made a stirrijig 
speech. The last meeting noted in the record 
book was held April i6th. By that time the com- 
pany had received orders to report at Springfield. 
A subscription paper had been circulated to raise 
money to furnish uniforms for the Zouaves, and 
by .A.pril 20th $1,200 had been pledged, with the 
promise of more if it should be needed. Men. 
women and children bent their efforts toward get- 
ting the Zouaves in shape for service. The wom- 
en sent their sewing machines up to concert hall, 
and gathered there to make the uniforms out of 
bolts of blue flannel secured as donations from 
the merchants and with money subscribed by the 
men. Those were busy days in concert hall. 
Women worked as they had never worked before, 
willingly, yet reluctantly ; tearfully, and yet cheer- 
fully, as each tried to encourage the other and 
remove the fears that they were preparing for a 
final parting from their loved ones. There was 
much to do, and a discussion arose on the subject 
of working on Sunday. Ajjril 21st. The citizens 
were a Sunday-keeping people then, perhaps more 
so than now, but it was resolved that the work 

ju.stified it, and the women labored all that bright 
and beautiful day in early spring. 

Wednesday, April 24, 1861, the Rockford Zou- 
aves left Rockford for the capital of the state. 
Business was g-enerally stispended, and between 
four and five thousand people were at the train 
to bid them farewell. 

The Zouaves first enlisted for three months' 
service, and became Company D, of the Eleventh 
Illinois Infantry, of which W. H. L. Wallace was 

This compan\-. with two recruits in the follow- 
ing June, and one member of the noncommis- 
sioned regimental staff, numbered exactly one 
hundred inen. They were the vanguard of the 
amiy furnished b)' Winnebago county. They 
belong to the first roll of honor, and for this rea- 
son their names are given in full as follows : 

Captain, Garrett L, X^evius ; first lieutenant, 
Rhenodyne A. Bird ; second lieutenant, William 
D. E. Andrus ; first sergeant, Henry H. Dean ; 
sergeants, Randolph D. Hobart, James H, Man- 
ny, Charles B, Hull ; corporals, Edward F, Lu- 
grin, Thomas Anyon, C)rin C, Towne, Frederick 
Brown : musicians, John A. Hobart, Mills F. 
X'eedham : privates, Charles E. .\rnold, William 
.\tkins, Lcander Bander, Alfred Barker, Thomas 
J. Bryan. David O. Butolph, Henry L. Brown, 
John Beatson, Alpheus D. Brown, Alpheus M. 
Blakesley, George C, Brown. Benjamin Bentson. 
Thomas Beddoes, Thomas W. Cole, Orin W. 
Cram, Andrew Clark, Bradford A. Champlain, 
Henry W. Cooling. Ervin E. Clark. William W. 
Clark. Richard A. Compton, Philip Crooker, 
Charles D. Clark, George \\'. Darling. George E. 
Dol])hin. Elislia S. Daggett. Charles L. Dunham, 
John L, Davis. Alexander X. Davis. Charles B. 
Eaton, Jud .A.. Ellison. John E. Elliott, Peter En- 
galls, William D. Frost, Almond Gifford, Har- 
vey Hemenwa}-, Derastus Holmes, Simon Hos- 
mer, Charles Hawkinson, lereon R. Hest, Freder- 
ick I. Horsman, George J. Hitchcock, Herring- 
ton Love, Daniel E. Lee, Xeri R. Mosher, George 
W. Maguire, John McGuire, Edward E. Magee, 
J. George Manlove, George H. Manchester, Wil- 
liam L. Mesick, Charles Pittinger, Charles N. 
Price, Levi Pitney. Frederick L. Posson, Luman 
G. Pierce, Floyd B. Penoyer. Rudolph W. Peake, 
William M. Putman, Charles X. Roberts. Walter 
Reckard. Shepard P. Strunk, Louis Schlunt, Jo- 
seph R. Shields, Erastus T. Stevens. William H. 
Skeed, Henry P. Strong. .-Vmbrose Stearns. J. 
Murray Southgate, Christopher C. Shank, James 
M, Stevens, Thomas A. Stevens, Edward S. 
Smith, Edwin Swift, Edward P, Thomas, Riley 
\'an Patten, John Wagner, Rufus L, Whitney, 
Jolm W. Warfield, John W^ Warner, William 
\\'inter, George \\'irkin, William G. D. Weed, 
Francis B. Wakeman : recruits, Marion E, De- 
lanv, Louis Houston. 



Twenty members of the Zouaves were subse- 
(|iiently sent home from Siiriiitrfield, under an 
army re.trulution tliat companies nnist not exceed 
ninctv-seven men. inchuhng' officers. Some of 
these promptly enHsted in other companies. 

The first soldier from Rockford to die for his 
country in the Civil war was Xeri R. Mosher, 
one of the first Zouave volunteers. He died June 
5th of tyi>hoi(l fever, at Camp Hardin, near Villa 
Ridf^e. Illinois, and his remains were sent to 
Rockford for interment. 

.Vu.sfust 8th. after three months of service, the 
Zouaves returned to Rockford. Many of them 
promptly re-cnlisted, and eig:ht days later, .Au- 
STust 1 6th. they again went to the front. Captain 
W. D. E. Andrus was detailed as recruiting offi- 
cer, and it was not until Xovembcr 13th that the 
ranks were filled, when the recruits joined the 
coiupany at Bird's Point. The Rockford Cit\' 
band entered service with the Zouaves and be- 
came a part of the Eleventh regiment. The fol- 
lowing named musicians constituted the regi- 
mental band : 

Leader, M. H. P.aldwin : musicians, Robert .\1- 
chin, Rufus B. Artz, Prolia .A.rtz, Charles B. 
Eaton ( Xo. 1), Charles B. Eaton (No. 2), James 
Eaton, Augtistus Dedrickson, Thomas Gray, 
Giarles W. Halcum, Charles P. Henrick, Daniel 
Kipp. Isaac Larue, Horace Nettleton, John P. 
Xettleton, Henry C. Sullivan. 

The total number of men enrolled in Company 

D, of the Eleventh Regiment, including recruits 
for the three years, was one hundred and four. 
With the field and staff, non-commissioned staff, 
musicians and nine unassigned recruits in Com- 
pany K. the total enlistments for this county in 
the Elcvcntli Regiment were one hundred and 


In following the early history of the Zouaves, 
the reader has been taken out of the strict chron- 
ological order of events. The narrative mav now 
be resumed at another point. 

.\n im])romptu meeting of citizens was called 
in Rockford, ancl a committee appointed to pre- 
pare and issue a call for a mass meeting. This 
committee consisted of E. F. W. Ellis, Selden 
M. Church and L. F. Warner. 

Pursuant to a call issued by the committee, a 
mass meeting was held at the courtliouse 
Wednesday afternoon, .\pril 24th, for the pur- 
pose of considering the state of the country. 
Judge Church was called to the chair. Messrs. 

E. F. W. Ellis, Hall. Dr. William Lyman. D. J. 
Stewart and Dr. R. P. Lane were appointed a 
committee on resolutions, which were unanimous- 
ly adopted, with great enthusiasm. .Speeches were 
made liv Dr. William Lvman, E. F. W. Ellis, 

JaiTies L. Loop, E. W. Blaisdell, L. F. Warner, 
."^eely Perry, John .Abrahamson, T. .'\. C. Beard, 
Jason Marsh and B. .McKenney. 


E. F. W. Ellis was one of the first citizens to 
l>ecome inspired with an ardent military spirit, 
which found its expression in the organization of 
a cnm])any, the Ellis Rifles, which he tendered 
to the governor. The enrollment began Wednes- 
day. .April 24th, and the ranks were filled in less 
than one week. Mr. Ellis was chosen captain ; 
Holder Brownell. first lieutenant : Cyrenius C. 
Clark, second lieutenant. On Saturday, May 11, 
the Rifles went into camp at Freeport, and were 
subsequently known as Company C, of the Fif- 
teenth Infantry, under command of Colonel 
Thomas J. Turner. The total enrollment of Com- 
pany C, including veterans and recruits, was 
ninety-three men. A'olunteers from Winnebago 
enlisted in other companies of the Fifteenth. The 
total enrollment of this regiment from Winne- 
bago county, including field and staff, non-com- 
missioned staff, privates, veterans, recruits and 
unclassified recruits, was one hundred and twen- 
ty-five men. The adjutant's report also gives 
the names of fifteen volunteers from this county 
in the reorganized Fifteenth Regiment. 


Daniel (X Ketchcson was also among the first 
to respond to the call of his country. He organ- 
ized a companv called the Rockford Rifles. By 
reason of some confusion and embarrassment, 
limvever. at Springfield, he failed to get into the 
service of his own state, and the company at 
once disbanded. A new muster roll was imme- 
diately o|)ened and another company fonued. It 
went into camp at the fair grounds, where it took 
a full course of drill. Friday. May 31, Captain 
Kctcheson's company left Rockford for St. Louis, 
where it was accepted as Company I. of the Sixth 
Missouri Regiment, under command of Frank 
Blair. Captain Ketchcson died in Rockford .April 
28, 1864. He fought bravely at Corinth. \'icks- 
burg. Champion Hills, .Arkansas Post, Mission 
Ridge and Chattanooga. .At \'icksburg and Ar- 
kansas Post Captain Ketchcson led charges and 
cneered his men to the very muzzles of the guns 
of the enemy. 


Colonel Ephraini Elmer Ellsworth is one of 
the most historic figures of the early war period. 
He was a national character, yet there were rea- 
sons why local interest attaches to his meinory, 
and to the older residents wlio had known him 
he still seems as one of their own heroic bovs. 



Colonel Ellsworth was born in Mechanicsville, 
New York, April 23, 1837. After a brief mer- 
cantile career in Tro}- and New York, he removed 
to Chica,a;o at an early age. where he became a 
solicitor of patents. 

In 1858 Colonel Ellsworth was engaged as 
drillmaster for the old Rockford City Greys, an 
independent military company, which had been 
organized two years before. Under his instruc- 
tions the company attained a high degree of pro- 
ficiency. In September, 1858, an encampment 
was held on the fair grounds, which continued 
four days. 

The Rockford Register of June i, 1861, in edi- 
torially commenting upon his death, said of this 
brilliant military^ leader : "Although young, he 
had proven himself to be surpassed by no man in 
the land as a teacher of military rules and drill, 
and, in fact, was the father of the Zouave drill 
in this country. No one has forgotten his splen- 
did tour through the northern states last sum- 
mer, stopping for drill in every large city of the 
north, received with acclamations of joy at every 
point, and taking his command through that try- 
ing military ordeal, crowned with honors, and 
the reputation of being the best drilled corps of 
men in the United States.'' 

Colonel Ellsworth was a splendid type of young 
manhood. He was received as a social lion by 
the young people of Rockford. He was frequent- 
ly a guest at the home of Charles H. Spafford, 
and at the time of his death he was betrothed to 
his elder daughter, now Mrs. Carrie S. Brett. 

In i860 Colonel Ellsworth organized a com- 
panv of Zouaves in Chicago, and the following 
year he accompanied President Lincoln to Wash- 
ington. May 24, 1 861, upon seeing a Confeder- 
ate flag floating from a hotel in Alexandria, Vir- 
ginia, he rushed to the roof and tore it down. On 
his return from the roof he was met and shot 
dead by Jackson, the owner, who, in turn, was 
killed by one of Ellsworth's men, Frank E. 
Browneli. Colonel Ellsworth's blood was the 
first shed in the civil conflict. 

The nation mourned his loss as of the fairest 
of the flower of her chivalrv. The New York 
World paid him this noble tribute : "He was a 
hero in the fairest and most captivating sense of 
the word. He was as handsome as Murat and 
as brave as Ney. He possessed to a degree that 
winning power over men by which, through all 
historv. great captains and leaders have been dis- 
tinguished. He was a commander by the im- 
perial right of birth. Quick, alert, exclusive, in- 
tuitive in his perception of tne qualities of men ; 
rigorous in discipline, yet submitting himself to 
the rigors which he imposed." 

Colonel Ellsworth's funeral was held in the 
east room of the White House. Among the 
mourners was General \^'infield Scott, dressed in 

the full uniform of his high position. Before 
him lay the dead body of one, almost a boy in 
vcars, who had died in the service of his country, 
and around him were gathered the great ones of 
the land. There were President Lincoln, Simon 
Cameron, William H. Seward, Commander 
Paulding, of the Navy, Nathaniel P. Banks, and 
other men high in the councils of the nation. 

Sunday afternoon, June 2d, Rev. H. M. Good- 
win preached a memorial service on the death of 
Colonel Ellsworth in the Second Congregational 
church. The day and hour were the same that 
similar services were held in Chicago. 


Stephen A. Douglas died at the old Tremont 
House, in Chicago, June 3, 1861, at the age of 
fortv-eight vears. With the single exception of 
Abraham Lincoln, no personality in the history of 
Illinois possesses more elements of intense in- 
terest than that of Senator Douglas. His life was 
a notable example of the perils and possibilities of 
genius. Douglas was ambition's child and king. 
With the single exception of Henry Clay, he was 
the greatest parliamentary leader in American 

Rockford shared the nation's grief in the death 
of Senator Douglas. Memorial services were 
held on the courthouse square, Saturday after- 
noon, June 7th. Three thousand people were in 
attendance. The orator of the day was the Rev. 
John P. Donelan, priest of St. James' Roman 
"Catholic church. Flags were at half mast, public 
buildings were draped in emblems of mourning, 
and from two o'clock until five business was en- 
tirely suspended. 

On the following Sunday a second memorial 
service was held. Rev. M. Schofield, rector of 
Emmanuel Episcopal church, preached in the Sec- 
ond Congregational church, and by request of 
citizens his discourse was published in the city 


Bishop Simpson was one of the greatest Amer- 
ican preachers. His war sermons in Rockford 
are, therefore, a matter of historic interest. Sun- 
dav. June 30, 1861, the three Methodist churches 
of the city united in a service in Metroplitan 
Hall. Tlie bishop's sermon was of great power. 

In the afternoon a union Methodist meeting 
was held in the Second church, later known as 
the Court Street church, when Bishop Simpson 
addressed the children. In the evening, upon the 
request of citizens, he preached an eloquent dis- 
course in the Second Congregational church, on 
"The Present Crisis." 



KKV. A. II. Cd.V.WT I'.KCO.MICS CIlAl'l-Al \ . 

In July. i8<')i. Rev. .A. H. Conant. pastor of 
tlif L'liitarian cluircli. rcsijjiu'd, and a feus weeks 
later lie enlisted as a chaplain in the .Xineteeiith 
Illinois Infantry. ( )nly one other citizen o{ Win- 
nehapi county is known to have entered the ser\'- 
ice with this resiuit'nt — Colonel Thomas C. Law- 
der. r.oth these names, however, in the adjutant- 
.t^eneral's report, arc credited to Chica,e;o. Chap- 
lain Conant died at Xashville. February 8. 1863. 
His death was due to exposure and exertion at 
the battle of Murfrcesboro. 

Till'. KOCKFOKD RlFLli.S. 

In .\us:ust Melc-uicthon Smith issued a stirring 
api)eal for vohniteers. quoting the last words of 
( "icneral I, yon. "Come on. brave men!" Mr. 
.^mith had oidy a few months before received the 
appointment of jmstmaster of Rockford, and it 
reeiuired not a little patriotism to leave this posi- 
tion for the hard.ships of war. Mr. Smith had 
been a member of the old Rockford City Greys, 
which had been drilled by Colonel Ellsw-orth, 
and he was thus not entirely without military ex- 

September 17th. after the ranks had been filled, 
an election of officers was held, with the follow- 
ing result : 

Captain. Melancthon Smith : first lieutenant. 
Robert P. Sealy : second lieutenant. D. W. Grip- 

September 22(\ the company left Rockford for 
Cam|i W'ashburne. at (ialena. They were mus- 
tered into the service as Company G, of the For- 
ty-fifth Regiment, known as the W'ashburne 
Lead-.Mine Regiment, in command of Colonel 
John E. Smith. The total number of enlistments 
in Company G from Wimiebago county, includ- 
ing veterans, recruits and drafted and substitute 
recruits, was one hundred and twenty-four. There 
were on tlie field and staff and in other companies 
eightv-seven volunteers, making the total num- 
ber of enlistments in the Forty-fifth Regiment 
from Winnebago county two hundred and thirty- 

John Travis, a member of the Rifles, was the 
first solflier from Winnebago county killed in 
battle. Me lost his life at the battle of Fort Don- 
el.son. in February. 1862. There were four com- 
panies from this connty on that field of carnage 
—the Rockford Rifles and the Cherry X'alley 
com|)any. in the I'orty-fifth : the Zouaves, in the 
Eleventh, and Captain P.oyd's company, in the 

W.VSIIlll'RNK Riri.ES. 

In September Rhenodyne .\. Piird organized a 
comi)any with a1)OUt eighty members, and .Sep- 

tember i;tli they left lor camp at Chicago, where 
they became a ])art of the Douglas brigade. The 
Rifles were known as Company C. of the Fifty- 
fifth Illinois N'olunteers. The total niunber of 
enlistments in this com])any from Winnebago 
coimty. including veterans and recruits, was one 
hundred and seven. There was one volunteer in 
Coni])any D. 


In September. i8r>i. Wesley Pioyd organized a 
company. calKd the Winnebago Shar|)shooters, 
(if which he became ca])tain. In October the com- 
pany went into cam]) at Camp Geneva, and be- 
came Company E. of the Fifty-second Infantry. 
The total number of enlistments in this company 
from this county, including veterans and recruits, 
was ninety-eight. There was oidy one volunteer 
in Company F. The regiment was organized at 
Geneva. Kane county, by the Hon. Isaac G. Wil- 
son, who was for many years a judge upon the 
circuit bench. 


.\ s])len(li(l cavalry cimiiiany was organized in 
September. John Austin, of Riickford. was cho- 
sen captain; A. j. .Martin, first lieutenant; John 
.\uslin. of Ogle county, second lieutenant. It 
was known as Company M. of the Eighth Illinois 

Winnebago county contributed to this com- 
pany, during the entire war period, one hundred 
and thirteen volunteers. Enlistments in other 
companies of this regiment, with unassigned re- 
cruits, brought the total number of enlistments in 
this coimty to two hundred and thirteen. 

September lAth the company went into camp 
at St. Cliarles. The regiment was organized by 
the Hon. John V. Farnsworth. who represented 
the Rockford di>trict in congress from 186^ to 

T. T. Ilobart raised a companv in August, which 
bi'came Company G. of the Fortv-fourth Infan- 
tr\. known as the X'orthwestern Rifles regiment. 
TJie number of enlistments in this companv from 
Winnebago coimty for the entire war period, in- 
cluding recruits, was one hundred and twenty- 
four. There were also in this regiment, on its 
field and stafT, non-commissioned staff, and re- 
cruits in Com|)any F. ten volunteers from this 
countv. This regiment was mustered into the 
service in Sejjtember. 


In response to apjieals made at war meetings. 
nianv attem])ts were made, more or less success- 
ful, to raise com|>anies in the various townshijis 



of the county. Captain S. Whitmeyer organized 
the Diirand Guards, and a company was enrolled 
in Cherry Valley, which, for some reason, was 
not accepted. These volunteers found their way 
into the service as members of other companies. 

Recruiting officers also secured volunteers in 
the interest of various regiments. Among these 
were Lieutenants E. H. Brown and D. H. Gile, 
of Chicago, who were in Rockford in the interest 
of Company A, of the Yates Phalanx. 

soldiers' aid society. 

The Soldiers' Aid Society was organized Au- 
gust 27, 1861. It represented the different re- 
ligious organizations in the city, united on the 
broad ground of Christian patriotism, to labor 
with one mind and heart for those who had en- 
listed in the service of their country. The offi- 
cers were: Mrs. Thomas Kerr, president; Airs. 
Jane Smith, vice-president; Miss Juliette Wheat, 
secretary; Miss Melissa Aloffat, treasurer; Miss 
Anna P. Sill, corresponding secretary. A state- 
ment published January 4, 1862, showed that a 
great work had been done during the first year 
of the war. 


January 4, 1862, H. R. Enoch, the county 
treasurer, made a public statement of county 
money expended for the relief of the families of 
volunteers. The total sum for the preceding 
eight months, from Alay to December, inclusive, 
was $4,259. 


The Fifteenth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer 
Infantry was raised under the "ten regiment act," 
in the First congressional district. Company A 
was from McHenry county ; Company B, Boone 
county ; Company C, W'innebago county ; Com- 
pany D, McHenry county ; Company G, Stephen- 
son county ; Company H, Ogle county ; Company 
I, Lake county, and Company K, from Carroll 
county. The regiment was organized at Free- 
port, Illinois, and mustered into the LInited States 
service on the 24th day of May, 1861, being one 
of the first regiments from the state sworn into 
the Lmited States service, for the three years' 
service. After electing officers, organizing and 
drilling for some time, the regiment proceeded 
to Alton, Illinois, remaining there six weeks for 
instruction. In July the regiment left .\lton by 
steamboat for St. Charles, Missouri, thence by 
rail to Mexico, Missouri, where it remained for 
a time in company with the Twenty-first Illinois 
Infantry, commanded by Colonel L'. S. Grant. A 
part of the regiment marched from Mexico to 

Fulton, and thence to the Missouri river, and 
thence by steamer to Jefferson Barracks ; the 
other part of the regiment marched to Hannibal, 
Alissonri, and thence by steamer to Jefferson 
1 Sarracks. The regiment then moved by rail to 
Rolla, Missouri, where it arrived in time to cover 
General Sigel's retreat from Wilson's Creek. 
After building one or two forts, the regiment was 
ordered to Tipton, Missouri, and thence became 
attached to General Fremont's army, and marched 
under General Hunter to Springfield, Missouri ; 
after remaining there a short time the regiment 
returned to Tipton, then went to Sedalia. It as- 
sisted in the capture of 1,300 rebels a few miles 
from the latter place. The regiment then marched 
to Otterville, Missouri, and went into winter 
quarters December 26, 1861. The winter was 
cold and the snow deep, and the first winter's ex- 
perience in tents was a very severe one. 

February i, 1861, the regiment marched to 
Jefferson Citv, thence by rail to St. Louis, where 
it embarked on transports for Fort Donelson. and 
arrived to take part in the surrender. The regi- 
ment was then assigned to General S. A. Hurl- 
but's "Fighting Fourth Division," and marched 
to Fort Henry, then went by boat to Pittsburg 
Landing, it being one of the first regiments that 
landed on that historic battle-ground. At the bat- 
tle of Shiloh, on the 6th of April, the regiment 
was in the first line of battle, formed by Hurl- 
but's division, and was in the brigade commanded 
by General C. Veach. Hardly had the brigade 
taken position, when a Confederate column, 
massed three lines deep, deployed from the woods 
on the left front, and with rebel yell that ech- 
oed through the surrounding forest, charged on 
in double-(|uick. The Fifteenth was flanked by 
the Fifty-third Ohio, on the right. At the first 
fire of the enemy the Buckeyes broke and ran, and 
the enemv were not only in front of the Fifteenth 
Regiment, but on both flanks in a very short time. 
For more than one hour the regiment held its po- 
sition, and fought as gallantly as any troops could 
fight in the terrible struggle, called by the Con- 
federates the "Hornet's Nest." and disputed inch 
by inch the advance and the incessant attacks of 
the best troops in the Confederate service. Owing 
to the want of support, the regiment was com- 
pelled to withdraw and take up a new position. 
In five minutes after the regiment formed its first 
line, the field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel E. F. 
W. Ellis and Major William R. Goddard, Cap- 
tains Holden Brownell and Harley Wayne and 
Lieutenant John W. Peterbaugh, were killed, and 
Captain Adam Nase lost a leg and was taken 
prisoner. Captain Thomas J. Turner was ab- 
sent, and the command of the regiment devolved 
upon Captain L. D. Kelly and George C. Rogers, 
assisted by Adjutant Charles F. Barber. As soon 
as a new line was formed (the Fourteenth Illi- 



nois on the left of the Fifteenth), wlien the ene- 
my had approached sufficiently near, these two 
regiments, actintj as one man, rose and delivered 
a rapid, well aimed and awfully destructive fire 
full into the massed ranks of the enemy. The 
enemy was soon convinced that this was not the 
way to the landing:. .\t the second attack these 
two regfiments received the first shock, and for 
three hours were in that awful gap, without giv- 
ing ground, where the Confederates sacrificed 
more than two thousand as brave men as ever trod 
the battle-field, in the unavailing efi'nrt ti> drive 
them from their position. This bajjtism of blood 
cemented the two regiments, and they were al- 
ways afterward ijrigaded and served together 
during the remainder of the war, and discharged 
at the same time and place. The Fifteenth Regi- 
ment was in the hottest of the fight both days of 
the bloody battle, and not a man faltered in his 
duty or failed to perform all that was re(|uircd of 
him. The two regiments that were in the final 
charge on the 7th, led by General Grant in per- 
son, were the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois; 
the Fourteenth commanded by Colonel Cyrus 
Hall, and the [""ifteenth by Captain George C. 
Rogers. This detachment moved forward, and 
when within range delivered their fire, and with 
fi.xed bayonets charged at double-quick. The rak- 
ing fire, however, had done its work. The Con- 
federate army had fled. The Fifteenth Regiment 
lost in this engagement two hundred and fifty 
men killed and wounde<l, and there are more of 
the '"known dead" of this regiment buried in the 
national cemetery at I'ittsburg Landing than of 
any other regiment, and many died of wounds 
in ho.spitals at home. 

i-i'.\"i:r.\l of colonel lllis. 

Rock ford's sorrow over the death of Colonel 
Rllis was ex|)ressed in an imposing demonstra- 
tion. His remains were brought to the city on 
Sunday. .April 20th. on a si)ecial train. On Mon- 
day they lay in state at the court house. The 
room was draped in the national colors, and un- 
derneath lay all that was mortal of the patriot 
hero, inclosed in a metallic burial case, upon which 
was placed his sword and belt. 

Tlie funeral was held on Tuesday in the .Sec- 
ontl Congregational church, the largest auditori- 
um then in the city. Two thousand peo|5le were 
in attendance. Rev. J. H. \'incent. jiastor of the 
Court Street church, now Bishop Vincent, 
preached the funeral sermon. His text was 
Zachariah, XIII : 8-9: ".And it shall come to pass 
that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts 
therein shall be cut off and die ; but the third 
shall be left therein. .Xnrl I will bring the third 
part through the fire, an<l I will refine them as 
silver is refined, and will try them as gold is 

tried : they shall call on my name, and I will hear 
liieiii; I will say. It is my people; and they shall 
say, the Lord is my God." Masonic services at 
the grave were in charge of L. F. Warner, mas- 
ter of Star in the East lodge. 

Winnebago county had six companies in the 
battle of .^hiloh. Companv C lost, besides Colonel 
Kllis, Captain H. Brownell, W. H. Brown, Wil- 
liam Caughey, J. E. \'ance and Asabel Douglas; 
Company D, of the Eleventh, lost Charles Haw- 
kinson and Dennis Manchester. Those killed in 
Company G, of the Forty-fifth, were Corporal 
Mc.Veilage, James Watterson, Conrad La Grange, 
(ieorge 1 lcnr\-. The killed in Company E, of the 
Fifty-second, were Patrick Cunningham and 
Charles P. Roch. The company was in six en- 
gagements during the first day's fight. Com- 
pany C, of the Fifty-fifth, lost Lieutenant Theo. 
Hodges, Corporal Daniel Sullivan. Sergeant Mi- 
ron Ganoung, Bragella Crowell. Nathan Knapp 
and O. Helgerson. .\11 of these companies suf- 
fered losses in wounded. J. C. Manlove. Jr.. and 
.\ndrcw Clark, who had entered Waterhouse's 
Battery, after three months' service with the Zou- 
aves, were both wounded in the shoulder. 

\oi.i-\tei-;rs roR tiirke iroxxHs' service. 

in June. 1862, in res])onse to calls for volun- 
teers for three months, two additional companies 
were organized and immediately entered the 
service at Camp Douglas in guarding Confeder- 
ate prisoners. One of these companies, the Win- 
nebago County Guards, was largely composed of 
volunteers from the country towns, of which H. 
R. Enoch was chosen caj^tain. and James B. Kerr 
first lieutenant. There were one hundred and 
four volunteers in this company, including re- 
cruits, of whom eighty-three were from \\'inne- 
bago county. They were known as Company C, 
of the Si.xty-seventh Infantry. 

The Rockford City Guards entered this .serv- 
ice, with Charles B. Mull as captain. The Guards 
were known as Company .A. of the Sixty-seventh 
Regiment. They are credited with exactly one 
hundred men, of whom sixty-three were from this 
county. There were four soldiers from Winne- 
bago on the field and staff, and the non-commis- 
sioned staff, and one jirivate each in Companies B 
and H. Winnebago county contributed to this 
regiment in the two companies a total of one 
hundred and fifty-three meiL 

These accessions made nine full companies 
which W'innebago county had sent mto the serv- 
ice, besides many enlisted in other companies and 


July 16, 1862. .-Xdjutant-General Fuller issued 
an order establishing cam])s for temporary ren- 



dezvous in several cities of the state. In the lat- 
ter part of the month General Fuller visited 
Rockford and personally selected a site north of 
the city. Jason Marsh was placed in command, 
who named the camp in honor of the man who 
did more than any other citizen in making a 
glorious military record for the commonwealth 
of Illinois. General Fuller was the central fig- 
ure of the war power of Illinois ; the forger of 
her thunderbolts, the splendid defender of her 
sons. General John C. Black once said to the 
writer that General Fuller was a greater man 
than Edwin M. Stanton, President Lincoln's great 
war secretary ; that he had Stanton's executive 
ability without his brutality. 

Camp Fuller was a camp of rendezvous for 
Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Car- 
roll, Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties. Four 
regiments were in camp at Camp Fuller — the Sev- 
enty-fourth, Ninety-second, Ninety-fifth and 
Ninet3--sixth. The activity at this camp was 
short-lived. All the regiments soon entered the 
service, and January 31, 1863, the barracks were 
sold at auction. 


In July, 1862, President Lincoln issued a call 
for 300,000 volunteers. In response to war meet- 
ings held in every township in Winnebago county 
the military spirit became the ruling passion of 
the people. July 31st the board of supervisors 
met in special session and offered a bounty of $60 
to each volunteer enlisting before the 25th of Au- 
gust, and $40 for all subsequent enlistments pre- 
vious to September 15th, next following. 

Winnebago county again promptly did her 
duty, and raised eight of the ten companies of the 
Seventy-fourth Regiment. Company G was or- 
ganized in Ogle county, and Company I in Ste- 
phenson county. The regiment was mustered 
into the service September 4th. 

The first field otificers were: Jason Alarsh. of 
Rockford, colonel : James B. Kerr, of Roscoe, 
lieutenant-colonel, and Edward F. Dutcher, of 
Oregon, major. Anton Nieman, of Chicago, an of- 
ficer of military education, was its first adjutant. 
On September 30, 1862, the regiment reported for 
duty at Louisville, Ky., where the Army of the 
Ohio, afterward known as the Amiy of the Cum- 
berland, was then being organized under General 
Don Carlos Buell. On October i a brigade or- 
ganization was effected, and the Seventy-fourth, 
with the Seventy-fifth and Fifty-ninth Illinois, the 
Twenty-second Indiana, and the Fifth fPinney's) 
Wisconsin Battery, formed the Thirtieth Brigade, 
Ninth division. Fourteenth Corps. Colonel Philip 
Sidney Post, of the Fifty-ninth Illinois, had com- 
mand of the brigade. General O. M. Mitchell of 
the division, and General Gilbert of the corps, the 

whole comprising, with other troops, a command 
under General A. McD. McCook, designated the 
right wing. 

On October 24, 1862, the army, then at Bowl- 
ing Green, was reorganized, under General W. 
S. Rosecrans, and was afterward known as the 
Army of the Cumberland. 

The regiment participated in the following bat- 
tles : Perryville, October 8, 1862 : Stone River, 
December 31, 1862: Mission Ridge, November 
24-25, 1863; Rocky Face, May 9, 1864: Resaca, 
May 14, 1864; Calhoun, May 17, 1864; Adairs- 
ville, Alay 18, 1864: Dallas, May 25 to June 25, 
1864; Lost Mountain, June 16, 1864; Kenesaw 
Mountain, June 27, 1864; Peach Tree Creek, 
July 20, 1864; Atlanta, July 22, 1864; Jonesboro, 
September i, 1864; Lovejoy, September 2, 1864; 
Spring Hill, November 29, 1864; Franklin. No- 
vember 30, 1864: Nashville, December 15-16, 

Winnebago county contributed 793 volunteers 
to the Seventy-fourth. This was almost exactly 
one-ciuarter of the whole mmiber of recruits 
raised by the county during the four years of the 
war. This fact made the regiment in a sense the 
special pride of the citizens. June 10, 1865, the 
Seventy-fourth, then numbering 343 officers and 
men, was mustered out of the service at Nash- 
ville, Tennessee, and arrived in Rockford June 
29. The veterans hold annual reunions, but time 
has thinned their ranks. In 1903 an excellent 
history of the Seventy-fourth Regiment was pub- 
lished by a committee consisting of John H. Sher- 
ratt. Hosmer P. Holland and Tohn \\'. Beatson. 


The Eleventh Infantry took an active part in 
the Vicksburg campaign. Garrett L. Nevius had 
entered the service as captain of Company D, but 
he rose rapidly. He was promoted major, lieu- 
tenant-colonel and finally the colonel of his regi- 

Colonel Nevius was killed in the charge of 
Ransom's brigade on the enemy's works at Vicks- 
burg, May 22, 1863, while on foot at the head 
of his regiment, within ten rods of the line of 
entrenchments. He was in the act of waving his 
sword and urging his men forward, when the 
fatal bullet struck him in the head, crashing 
through his brain, killing him instantly. His 
dving words were: "Forward, mv brave Elev- 
enth !" 

The colonel's body was recovered and placed 
in charge of Captain W, D. E. Andrus, who, 
with a guard of ten men, immediately started to 
convey it to Rockford. The funeral guard was 
met at the Illinois Central depot in Chicago by 
a delesration from Rockford, with Mavor Wil- 



liams. and escorted to tlie Galena depot. The re- 
mains arrived in Rocktord Wednesday. Jnne 3, 

The body lay in state at the courthouse, where 
memorial services were held on Thursday. All 
business in the city was suspended. The meeting 
was called to order by the war mayor, Charles 
Williams. Dr. Thomas Kerr pronomiced an elo- 
i|uent eulogy. The remains were taken, with 
military escort, to the Northwestern depot, and 
forwarded to the home of his mother at Lodi, 
Seneca county. New York. 

.\s a military man Colonel Nevius had won an 
enviable rei)utation. He ij<issessed sujierior abil- 
ities. He was careful of his men. cool, well post- 
ed, sound in judgment, and brave almost to the 
l)oint of recklessness. He led his men where duty 
called, and they were quick to follow. Colonel 
.Nevius was naturally retiring and unassuming in 
private life, and was not thus. perha])s. so widely 
known as others of less ability for leadership. 

Those who knew him best learned to respect 
him fi>r liis high moral character and social worth 
and all who enjoyed his ac(|uaintance will remem- 
ber him with the liveliest emotions. His charac- 
ter was one which all will love tt> <lwell upon, 
and his memory will be fresh in the hearts of our 
citizens for long years to come. 

Colonel Nevius was only twenty-six years of 
age. He lived in deeds, and not in years. Nevius 
post. No. I. C,. A. R.. is named after him. 


^fajor Patrick Flynn was a representative son 
of Erin, who espoused the cause of his adopted 
country with a lover's devotion. He fought her 
battles with the characteristic ardor of his race. 
He was born in Mayo, Ireland. May 11, 1831. 
He came to Rockford in 1858. and was engaged 
in mercantile business until 1862, when President 
Lincoln issued a call for 300,(XX) volunteers. 

Major Flynn enlisted about 300 men in Win- 
nebago, Pioone and Stephenson counties. He or- 
ganized the Mulligan Guards, named in honor of 
the famoius Colonel James Mulligan, nf the Twen- 
tv-third Illinois, known as the Irish brigade. The 
late Dean Piutler, priest of St. James' Catholic 
church, of Rockford, was chaplain of Mulligan's 
brigade. Later the major's company dropped the 
name of Mulligan Guards and was designated 
as Comjiany .\. Nineteenth Illinois N'ohmteer In- 
fantry, and assigned to the Fifteenth Army Corps. 
There were in this company ninety-three volun- 
teers from Winnebago county. There were also 
six enlistmeiUs froni the coimty in other compa- 
nies of the regiment. 

Many years after those stirring scenes, in No- 
veml)er, 1900. Major Flynn relatcfl his exjiericnce 
in securing enlistments in the well-known Mulli- 

gan (iuarcls. These were given in a paper read 
before a campfire of Nevius post. The major 
said : 

"On July 14. 1862, Charles L. Williams, then 
mayor of Rockford ; Rev. J. P. Donelan, pastor of 
St. James' Catholic church ; W. G. King. Judge 
Church, Hon. William Lathrop. Hon. Wait Tal- 
cott. Dr. R. ]'. Lane and Laurence McDonald 
called on me and suggested that I assist in rais- 
ing an Irish company of volunteers. Tlie idea 
was not displeasing to me. but, having a wife, 
I deemed it i)roper to first consult her in reference 
to the suggestion. She .shared my patriotic feel- 
ings, or. ratlur. I shared hers, and the result was 
that I soon entered heartily into the undertaking. 
( )nly a few remain of those young men who 
signed the muster roll at that time. They are 
.\ndrew Phinney, and Hugh McMahon, of Rur- 
ritt, who was said to be the youngest sergeant in 
the brigade. The young Irishmen of Rockford be- 
came enthusiastic in the defense of their country, 
and in the reniarkablv short period of sixteen days 
140 men enlisted. One more name which I was 
anxious to add to the list of these young heroes 
is that of Joseph P. Whalen, of .\rgyle township, 
who especially tlistinguished himself at the bat- 
tle of Missionary Ridge on November 23. 1863. 
He deserves special mention, being struck by 
rebel bullets no less than three times, and so dis- 
abled in his limbs to this day that his effort to 
move about is extremely painful. Wo exnected to 
be attached to the Twenty-third Illinois, which 
had achieved a brilliant reputation in the west and 
in \"irginia. and whose young commander was 
James .\. Mulligan. The company was named 
the Mulligan Guards in his honor. On Augfiist 
31st we were mustered into the service of the 
United States at Camp Douglas. Chicago, and 
became Companv .\. of the Ninetieth Illinois, of 
which Colonel O'Meara became the commanding 
officer. There were also volunteers which I re- 
cruited in Company T. The regiment was then 
detailed for a time to guard prisoners at Camp 
Douglas. Rumors were rife for a time that the 
Knights of the Golden Circle were planning an 
attempt to liberate the rebel prisoners under our 
care. The rumors were not without foundation, 
though the attempt was not made at that time. 
Had it been, the Ninetieth would have proven it- 
self loyal to the country that sheltered its mem- 
bers in their exile. In those days domestic ene- 
mies, which were known as co]>perhcads. were a 
source of much annoyance.'' 

In the same pajicr Major Flvim vividly de- 
scribed the battle of Missionary Ridge. His allu- 
sion to the death of Lieutenant James Conway, 
of Company A. breathes the fervor and eloquence 
of his race. Rare indeed is a soldier's death more 
impressively told than in these words : 



"The next morning the Fifteenth Corps moved 
along the valle}- under the Lookout mountain 
range toward Chattanooga. On the morning of 
the 25th it was in Hne for the desperate struggle 
that day commemorates as the battle of Mission 
Ridge. The regiment lost its colonel, the brave 
O'Meara ; its lieutenant-colonel was shot through 
the body, and Lieutenant James Conwav. of Com- 
pany A, of this city, was shot through the heart. 
WHien found after the sun went down, he was 
in a kneeling position, his sabre in his right hand, 
his revolver in his left, his face to the enemy and 
his virtuous eyes turned to heaven, as though ful- 
ly satisfied of the sacred justness of the cause for 
which he was yielding up his life, he was anxious 
to meet the benignant glance of his Creator. Im- 
pressed with a knowledge of a duty nobly done, 
this brave )'oung officer knelt at the shrine of in- 
finite mercy, and while the words of hope were 
yet warm upon his cjuivering lips, his soul went 
forth into the presence of the Almighty Father. 
There 160 out of 370 heroes were beaten down 
in the bloody rain of rebel bullets. Being rank- 
ing officer, I took command of the Nineteenth 
that day." 

Major Flynn served his company as captain 
from August, 1862, until March, 1863. when he 
was promoted to major and continued with his 
regiment until he was wounded. August 28, 1863, 
at the battle of i\Iissionary Ridge. He was mus- 
tered out of service in Jime, 1865. 

During the early part of the war there were 
also eight enlistments in the Eighth Infantry, 
twenty in the Forty-sixth, one in the consolidated 
Forty-seventh, one in the Forty-eighth, one in 
the Forty-ninth, thirteen in the Fifty-first, three 
in the Fifty-fourth, two in the Sixty-ninth, and 
eight in the Seventy-first. 

There were fifty-six volunteers in Batteries A, 
B. E, H and I of the First Regiment of light ar- 
tillery, and twenty-one in the Second artillery. 


In the month of February, 1863, the Forty-fifth 
Regiment moved with Grant's army on transports 
down the river from Alemphis to take part in the 
Vicksburg campaign. Stops were made at Lake 
Providence, Msta plantation and Milliken's Bend. 
At I\Iilliken"s Bend volunteers were called for to 
run the batteries with transports at Vicksburg. 
The entire regiment, officers and men, volunteered 
for this duty. Tlie matter was decided by mak- 
ing a detail of the quota assigned to the Forty- 
fifth. The detail comprised the crew which 
manned the steamer Anglo-Saxon, and took her 
safely through. loaded with a full cargo of com- 
missary stores. 

ilay I, 1863, found the Forty-fifth on the east 
bend of the ^Mississippi at Bruinsburg, below 

N'icksburg, and the same day started with Gen- 
eral (Grant's army on the famous campaign which 
ended in the capture of \'icksburg. The regi- 
ment participated in all the battles of the cam- 
paign, forming part of Logan's division. 

The position of the Forty-fifth during the siege 
of \'icksburg was immediately at the White 
House, on the Jackson road, in front of the rebel 
Fort Hill, regarded as the key to the fortress. 

The Forty-fifth took part in three charges 
against the rebel works, on the 19th and 22d"of 
May and the 25th of June. On the 22d Major 
Luther H. Cowan was instantly killed. About a 
month was occupied in running a gap and dig- 
ging a mine under Fort Hill. June 25th, the 
mine having been charged, the match was ap- 
])lied. The Forty-fifth was selected as the storm- 
ing party after the breach should be made. Im- 
mediately after the explosion the regiment rushed 
into the crater, but was met with a murderous 
fire l3\- the enemy, who was still protected by an 
embankment of about three feet in width, which 
had been thrown up by the rebels as an inner line 
in case the outer works should be demolished. 
The loss to the Forty-fifth in this charge was 
eighty-three ofificers and men killed and wounded. 
Among the number were Melancthon Smith, lieu- 
tenant-colonel ; Leander B. Fisk. major, and a 
number of non-commissioned officers and men. 
Among the wounded was Jasper A. Maltbv, col- 
onel of the regiment. It was a bloody afl'air, in- 
deed. When the city surrendered, on account of 
its conspicuous service during the siege, bv order 
of General Grant, the Forty-fifth was given the 
advance of the L'nion army when it entered that 
stronghold, and its flag was raised upon the court- 
house by Colonel William F. Strong, of General 
McPherson's stafi', to denote the possession of 
the city by the Federal army. 

June 23, 1863. Colonel Smith was mortally 
wounded at the storming of a fort at Vicksburg 
by General Logan's division. He lingered three 
days in a state of half-consciousness and died 
Sunday morning, June 28, in the thirty-sixth year 
of his age. His remains were brought to Rock- 
ford for burial. Funeral services were held June 
nth at the home of his father-in-law, John Ed- 
wards. His remains lay in state in front of the 
house. The discourse was delivered by Rev. F. 
AI. Holland, pastor of the Unitarian church, of 
which Colonel Smith was a member. 

Sunday afternoon Dr. H. M. Goodwin 
preached a memorial sermon in the Second Con- 
gregational church. Concerning Colonel Smith's 
patriotism. Dr. Goodwin said : "Before deciding 
to enter the ami}-, he made the question a subject 
of devout and earnest prayer, and the decision, 
when made, was a religious consecration to the 
service of his country, expecting never to return, 
but to die on the field of battle." 




November 14. 1863, Rolicrt Ogrilby made an 
abstract of the record uf Winiicbago county vol- 
imteers to that date. The total niunber of en- 
listments was 2,127. ^^f tli^"^*-' 47 '^•"^' ^'^'^" killed. 
160 died, 86 wounded, 24 wounded and died. 49 
wounded and discharged. 14 discharged and died, 
nuistered out and died. The total deaths to that 
date were 254. 


At the regular session of the supervisors in 
December, 1863. the board of super\-isors raised 
the bountv to $100 for all who would enlist be- 
tween December ist and January 5th. This 
bountv was in the form of a county bond draw- 
ing seven per cent, interest and transferable at 

The last year of the war drained the loyal 
states of its available militia. President Lincoln's 
call for 500,000 men in the summer of 1864 was a 
severe test of loyalty, but all demands were met 
by \\'innebago county. September 15th the 
board of super\isors passed a resolution offering 
a bounty of $300 to volunteers in the county who 
had enlisted since September 5th, or who might 
thereafter enlist. October ist it was officially an- 
nounced that \\'imiebago county was out of the 
draft, and that under the last call for volunteers, 
more than three hundred had been raised. 

Winnebago county contributed 3,187 .soldiers 
to the volunteer sen-ice of the Union during the 
Civil war. This was twenty-five more than its 


The adjutant-general's report devotes fifteen 
full pages to the list of Illinois soldiers who died in 
Andersonville prison. Among diose who sur- 
vived the horrors of that prison pen from this 
county were Captain Lewis F. Lake, a member 
of Taylor's Battery, who had l>een captured at 
the battle of Atlanta; Lieutenant Andrew Phin- 
ney and Roger Brown. The late Dr. Selwyn 
Clark and Dr. Ginton Helm were confined in 
Libby prison. H. C. Scovill, the present city 
clerk, was a prisoner ten months at Macon, Geor- 
gia. He enlisted in an Ogle county company. 
William L. Mesick, of Company E, First Illinois 
Light .\rtillery, a Rockford boy, was left on the 
field of Guntown, Mississippi, for dead, and aft- 
erward turned up at Andersonville prison. His 
funeral sermon was preached in Rockford. He 
recovered his health in a measure, and lived 
more than thirty years. 


Mrs. Mar>- Brainard saw the hard side of the 
war life, and worked many a long night over 

the dying soldiers, and writing the last letters 
iiome for those who were too weak to do it for 
themselves. Mrs. Brainard left Rockford in Sep- 
temljer of 1862, going with the Seventy-fourth 
Illinois volunteers as a nurse under Colonel 
Marsh. In a short time she was made nurse and 
head matron of the hospital at Lebanon, Ken- 
tucky, where she sjient the winter, and then go- 
ing to the hos])ital at Lewisvillc as head nurse 
and matron. She spent the summer there in 
charge of the officers' hospital, but during the 
fall she was taken seriously sick with malarial 
fever and was sent north. During the time of 
her nursing she was not under sanitarj- commis- 
sion, as were most of the nurses, but was in the 
government employ. Because of her faithful 
work she was awarded a ])ension by a special act 
of congress. Mrs. Brainard died suddenly Octo- 
ber 7, 1905. 


The late Dr. Thomas Kerr was for a time a 
member of the Christian commission, under ap- 
pointment of President Lincoln. After his re- 
turn from the field he delivered a number of lec- 
tures, the ])roceeds of which were devoted to the 
war relief fund. 


'J"hc county contributed a few volunteers to the 
naval service. \'olney D. W'oodruff, John L. 
Clark. George Potter, and John A. Ferguson 
were members of the West Gulf Blockading 
squadron. John McDermaid, now a resident of 
Rockford. but who enlisted in an eastern state, 
enjoys the distinction of having been a partici- 
pant in the engagement in which the Confederate 
ram .\lbcmarle was destroyed. This unique his- 
toric event occurred October 27. 1864. on 
Roanoke river, in North Carolina, by a detail of 
twelve men, under command of Col. Cushing. 


The story of Mrs. H. B. Merchant's devotion 
to her country is probably without parallel. Her 
husband had died several years before and she 
was dependent for support upon her eleven sons. 
When the war broke out she bade the elder ones 
farewell and they went away. As the need for 
men grew greater the younger ones enlisted until 
finally all of the eleven were fighting for the stars 
and stripes. The brothers in the war and the com- 
mands in which thev enlisted were : G. W. 
Merchant, Co. C, 74th'lll. Vol. : A. L. Merchant, 
Co. C, 15th 111. Vol.; Enoch Merchant, Co. F, 
156th 111. Vol.; D. O. Merchant, Co. C, 74th 111. 
\'ol. ; S. B. Merchant, Co. G, 44th 111. Vol. ; A. 



J. Merchant, Co. G, 44th 111. Vol.; L. E. Mer- 
chant, Co. G, 45th 111. Vol. ; Aaron Merchant, Co. 
G, isth Wis. Vol.; N. W. Merchant, United 
States Cavalry ; J. C. Merchant, teamster in quar- 
ter-master's department. Each of the brothers 
who sur\'ived received an honorable discharge. 


January i, 1866, Adjutant-General Haynie 
issued a circular letter to the authorities of each 
county in the state, requesting- a statement of the 
amount of money paid by counties, cities and vil- 
lages. Winnebago county contributed $434, 
038.25. The several townships and the city of 
Rockford raised $65,964.13. These sums make 
a grand total of $500,002.38. This amount was 
expended for bounties, transportation, subsistence, 
general expenses, soldiers' families and interest. 


The writer is deeply conscious of the fact that 
this sketch is not an adequate history of the part 
borne bv Winnebago county in the great civil 
conflict. Such an undertaking would require a 
volume in itself. After the admission has been 
made, however, this history may still modestly 
claim to be th'e most complete that has appeared 
to date. It is hoped that in time to come some 
historian may tell the story in full as it is 
worthy to be told. 


Nevius post, G. A. R., is one of the oldest 
posts in the United States. For some years there 
was much discussion over the question of pri- 
ority of organization of the Wisconsin and the 
Illinois departments, and this honor has finally 
been decided in favor of the latter. The Rock- 
ford post was mustered into the order June i, 
1866, by General Stephen A. Hurlbut, as No. 
124, although the charter bears the date of Oc- 
tober 3d. following. All previously organized 
posts in Illinois were disbanded, so that the Rock- 
ford post succeeded to priority. The present 
membership is about four hundred, in round num- 

Nevius post has been able to secure, during the 
thirtv-nine rears of its histon,-, some of the best 
orators in the country, for Memorial day oc- 
casions. Among these are : Gen. John A. Logan, 
Gen. John L. Beveridge, Gen. Smith D. Atkins, 
Gen. Allen C. Fuller, Gen. A. L. Chetlain, Ex- 
Secretary of War Belknap, Bishop Samuel Fal- 
lows, Col. James A. Sexton, Col. Frank A. Rid- 
dle. Col. W. P. Hepburn, Commander-in-Chief 
John R. Rea, Gov. Chamberlain of Vermont, W. 
J. Calhoun. 

The post was named in honor of Colonel Gar- 
rett L. Nevius, who was killed during the siege 
of Vicksburg. Only two charter members are 
known to be living : J. G. Manlove and Evans 
Blake. The annual encampment of the Depart- 
ment of Illinois has been held four times in Rock- 
ford. The last two dates were 1894 and 1905. 

Col. Thomas G. Lawler has served the post the 
greater part of its history as commander. Be- 
ginning with July, 1868, he served five terms of 
six months each. In 1872 he was elected for the 
term of one year and has held the office thirty- 
three consecutive years. Col. Lawler was elected 
commander-in-chief of the national Grand Army 
organization in 1894. 


July I, 1875, Mr. Henry P. Kimball, the sec- 
retary of the Winnebago Count}' Agricultural 
society for seventeen years, by the authority of 
the board of directors, extended an invitation to 
Jefferson Davis to be present at the annual exhi- 
bition in September, and deliver an address. This 
invitation and its acceptance stirred up such a 
furore of excitement among the people of north- 
ern Illinois as to induce Mr. Davis to withdraw 
his acceptance. The correspondence thus neces- 
sitated became a matter of national notoriety. 

In the time of the Indian troubles through this 
section of the country Jefferson Davis, with 
others, helped subdue them. Later, however, he 
became the representative man and leader in the 
attempt to establish an independent confederacy 
out of the slave states, and, although unsuccess- 
ful, the horrors of the war that followed were not 

When his promised attendance was announced, 
the memories of war times were kindled anew 
in the loyal heart, and a cry of opposition was 
raised that was soon borne to the ears of the 
Confederate chieftain, giving him to understand 
that his presence would be offensive almost be- 
yond toleration. In giving shape to this opposi- 
tion the G. L. Nevius post, G. A. R., of Rock- 
ford, was the first to move, and caused to be is- 
sued the following protest : 

"Whereas : We learn, with regret, that Jef- 
ferson Davis has been invited by the board of 
directors of the Winnebago Agricultural society 
to deliver the annual address at our county fair ; 
and whereas, we look upon it as an insult to the 
loyal citizens of Winnebago county to invite the 
arch-traitor, Jefferson Davis, to address the rela- 
tives and surviving friends of thirteen thousand 
men murdered at Andersonville alone, by his 

"Resolved. That while as an organization we 
have nothing to do with politics, yet, as loyal 
citizens and former soldiers, we feel it our duty 


I'AST AXn I'RESKXT OF \VIX"\i:i'..\( ,0 LOLXTV. 

to speak in behalf of the memory of our fellow- 
comrades, who arc no lonsjcr able to speak for 

"Second. That we protest as^ainst the action of 
the board of directors, and jiledge onrselves that 
we will not attend the fair, nor contribute any- 
thing;- toward makinjj it a success, if tiie board 
of directors persist in bringing- forward this arch- 
traitor and cow-ard. 

'Third. That resolutions be signed b\ 
the members of this post, and published in the 
county papers." 

This protest was signed by one hundred and 
twenty-six members of the post, and a jsrinted 
copy thereof forwarded to Mr. Davis, upon the 
receipt of which he atldressed to Mr. Kimball his 
letter of declination, under date of i.sUi. 


In 1S75 the board of supervisors took pre- 
liminary steps toward the erection of a new- 
courthouse. Henry L. Gay was the architect, 
and W. D. Richardson the contractor. The cor- 
ner-stone was laid June 23. 1876. May 11, 1877, 
occurred the greatest disaster in the history of the 
city, known as the "fall of the courthouse." All 
but a portion of the front pediment of the main 
central tow-er. or dome, had fallen straight 
through the middle of the building, crushing in 
its descent much of the inside work of the struc- 
ture. Seven men were killed outright, and several 
others severely wounded, two of whom died be- 
fore the coroner's jury had completed its inc|uest. 

Those who w-ere killed outright were Fred 
Hang, -A. Hollenbcck. John Warren. .\. Ilaug. 
John Pipe, George (iloss. Timothy I-'lannigan. 

The w-ounded were .\ugust Lucas. Thomas 
Hayes. William McTnnis. John Peck. George 
Smith. Hugh Eldredge. Cicero Dickerson, Hen- 
drez rieldahl. Isaac Donnelly. John Donaldson. 
I'rank Harris, and a man named Lindholm. John 
Peck and Lindholm died from their injuries. 

.\ coroner's jury made careful examination into 
the cause of the disaster. The jury w-as composed 
of Selden M. Giurch, H. W. Carpenter. George 
S. Haskell. Jolm R. Porter. G. A. Sanford. J. P.. 
Howell. Thomas lUitterw-orth. George Wilson, J. 
W. Seccomb. D. L. Emerstm. Wm. H. Smith. .\. 
G. Lowry. 

The jury found that the disaster was caused 
first by the neglect of Henry L. Gay. the archi- 
tect, to provide for the great amount of weight 
called for to com|)lete the building according to 
the plans designed by him ; second, want of care 
on the part of said architect in not giving special 
sjiccifications and ])lans for tlie parts of the gen- 
eral i)lan required to carry the extra weight, in 
proportion to their su]>erfices ; third, the board of 

supervisors failed to use due caution in exaniin- 
ing the plans and specifications, and in not em- 
])loying a competent architect. 

Work was at once resumed, and the courthouse 
was completed in 1878. at a total cost of $21 i.ocx). 


During the interval between the Civil and the 
Spanish wars there were tw-o local militia com- 
jianies which brought much fame to the Forest 
City. They w-ere the Rifles and the Greys. The 
former. Com])any K. was organized in 1876. and 
the latter. Company H. six years afterwards. The 
Rifles early in their career, through their pro- 
ficiency in drill and military standing, achieved a 
fame by no means confined to Illinois alone. 

One year after their organization the Rifles .saw 
their first military .service. This was during the 
Rraidw-ood riot. In 1893 with the Greys it 
served in a similar cajiacity. 

The history of Comi)any K dates from July. 
1S76, when the governor's guard of .S])ringfield 
visited Rockford. on the occasion of the laying 
of the courthouse corner-stone. So favorable 
was the impression made by the visitors that a 
call for a similar independent military organiza- 
tion w-as issued at once. The first meeting for 
organization was held July 22d. in (t. ,\. R. hall. 
John C. Garver w-as chairman. C. M. P>razee 
was elected captain : George .\. Silsby. first lieu- 
tenant : and II. X. Starr, second lieutenant. 
Thomas G. Lawler was elected drill-master and 
at the third meeting there were 114 men in line. 

In the following year the state legislature 
passed a law- jiroviding for an enlisted militia. 
The Rifles promptly enlisted, and became Com- 
])any P.. of the Third regiment, .\fter a brief 
service in the P)raidw-ood riots the comjiany de- 
cided to give attention to competitive drills, and 
in the autumn of that year defeated the .Aurora 
Light Guard. 

In 1879 the conijiany participated in the great 
military encam])ment and prize contest at St. 
Louis in the month of Octolier. On the w-ay it 
stopi)ed at Springfield and particijiatcd in a drill, 
in which it was defeated by the Moline troops, the 
decision of the judges creating dissatisfaction 
among the spectators. At St. Louis the Rifles 
secured fourth honors among sixteen entries, the 
Chickasaw (niards being first. Company P>. First 
infantrv. Chicago, second: and a St. Louis com- 
pany third. 

In the month of October the company made 
its famous southern trip to participate in the mili- 
tary encampment at .\tlanta. Its journey going 
and returning was marked by ovations. The 
Forest City band played "Dixie" and the w-arm- 
hearted southerners immediately took the Rock- 
ford bovs to their hearts. 



The Gre_vs were mustered into service Decem- 
ber 28, 1882, by Major Henry N. Starr. George 
F. Adams was the original captain ; Fred C. 
Pierce, first lieutenant and Donald Tolmie, sec- 
ond lieutenant. Captain Adams resigned the fol- 
lowing year, and was succeeded bv Fred Pierce. 
He in turn was succeeded by William G. Dustin. 
William C. Wildt was elected captain in 1886. 
When the latter moved up to the major's position 
Fred N. Drake was elected captain. He resigned 
March 27, 1893, and was succeeded by First Lieu- 
tenant William C. Brogunier. 

Both companies have made history that has re- 
flected credit upon Winnebago county. 

rockford's representatives in congress. 

The several congressional districts, of which 
^^'inncbago county has successively formed a part, 
have been represented in congress by able gentle- 
men. .Several were statesmen and specialists of 
national and even international reputation. In 
order to make the record complete a paragraph 
must be devoted to the territorial organization of 

Previous to 1818, when Illinois became a state, 
the territory was represented in congress suc- 
cessively by three delegates. Shadrach Bond 
served from December 3, 1812. until October 3, 
1 814. Benjamin Stephenson succeeded Bond, 
and served from November 14, 1814, until April 
29, 1 816. Nathaniel Pope entered congress De- 
cember 2, 1816, as the last territorial delegate, 
and remained until Illinois became a state in 
March, 1818. 

From 1818 until 1832, the state of Illinois con- 
stituted one congressional district. Daniel P. 
Cook was its first representative in congress, and 
served from 1818 to 1827. Joseph Duncan suc- 
ceeded and held his seat until 1833. 

The first apportionment proper was made in 
183 1. The state was divided into three districts. 
Tlie Third included the northern half of the state, 
and was represented successively by three con- 
gressmen. Joseph Duncan was elected in 1832. 
He resigned and Wm. L. May, of Springfield, was 
elected to complete the term. May was re-elected 
as a democrat in 1834 and 1836. The latter year 
was the first in which Winnebago county voted 
at a congressional election. John T. Stuart, sub- 
sequently a law partner of Abraham Lincoln, was 
elected in 1838 over Stephen A. Douglas, and was 
re-elected in 1840. Lender the apportionment of 
1843, Joseph P. Hogue. of Galena, was elected as 
a democrat for the new Rockford district, and 
re-elected in 1844, defeating Martin P. Sweet, of 
Freeport. In 1846 Thomas J. Turner, of Free- 
port, was elected and served one term as a 
democrat. By the year 1848 the whigs had again 
come into power, and the famous Colonel Ed- 
ward D. Baker was elected. 

Colonel Baker was born in London, England, 
February 24, 181 1. He came to the United 
States at the age of five years, with his father, 
who died in Philadelphia. The son removed to 
Springfield, Illinois. He rose rapidly to distinc- 
tion, and in 1844 he was elected a member of 
congress. He served his adopted country with 
signal ability in the Mexican war ; and upon his 
return to Illinois he settled at Galena. After serv- 
ing one term in congress he settled in San Fran- 
cisco, California, in 1852. Colonel Baker was a 
brilliant orator. His speech on the death of Sen- 
ator Broderick, of California, who fell in a duel 
with Judge Terry, in 1859, is one of the master- 
pieces of American oratory. For an hour the 
homage of tears was paid to Baker's genius and 
to Broderick's memory. His closing words are 
remarkable for their pathos : "The last word 
must be spoken, and the imperious mandate of 
death must be fulfilled. Thus, O brave heart ! 
we lay thee to thy rest. Thus, surrounded by tens 
of thousands, we leave thee to thy equal grave. 
As in life no other voice among us so rang its 
trumpet blast upon the ears of freeman, so in 
death its echoes will reverberate amidst our 
mountains and our valleys until truth and valor 
cease to appeal to the human heart. Good 
friend ! true hero ! hail and farewell !" 

Colonel Baker was subsequently elected L^nited 
States senator from Oregon. His debate with 
Breckenridge in the senate in 1861 attracted na- 
tional attention. "In the history of the senate," 
says Mr. Blaine, "no more thrilling speech was 
ever delivered. The striking appearance of the 
speaker, in the uniform of a soldier, his superb 
voice, his graceful manner, all united to give to 
the occasion an extraordinary interest, and at- 
traction." Colonel Baker left his seat in the 
senate and entered military service. He was killed 
while commanding a brigade at the battle of Ball's 
Bluff, October 21. 1861. 

Col. Baker was succeeded in 1850 by Thomp- 
son Campbell, of Galena, as a democrat, who 
served one term. 

Lender the apportionment of 1852 the state was 
divided into nine districts. Elihu B. Washburne 
served the entire period of ten years during which 
this apportionment continued. Mr. Washburne 
was first elected as a whig ; his subsequent elec- 
tions were as a republican. 

Elihu Benjamin Washburne was a member of 
the celebrated \\^ashburne family. He was born 
in Livermore, Elaine. September 23, 1816. In 
1839 he entered the Harvard law school. Among 
his classmates were Richard H. Dana and Wil- 
liam M. Evarts. He was admitted to the bar in 
1840, and at once settled at Galena, Illinois, and 
entered into partnership in the practice of law 
with Charles S. Hempstead, one of the incorpor- 
ators of Rockford female seminary. Mr. Wash- 




bume remained in congress from 1853 until 
March 6, 1869. From this long- and honorable 
serv'ice he was familiarly known as the "Father 
of the House," and in that capacity he adminis- 
tered the oath as speaker to Schuyler Colfax three 
times, and once to James G. Blaine. By reason of 
his insistence that the finances of the government 
should be administered with the strictest economy, 
Mr. Washburne was called the "Watch-dog of 
the Treasury." Mr. \\'ashburne called the at- 
tention of Governor Yates to his townsman, 
Ulysses S. Grant, who wished to enter military 
sen'ice. When the hero of the Civil war became 
president, he honored his old friend with the ap- 
pointment of secretary of state, and later made 
him minister to France. This position he held 
(luring the Franco-Prussian war. At the request 
of Bismarck, and with the permission of the 
French minister of foreign affairs. Mr. W'ash- 
burne exercised his official influence for the pro- 
tection of the Germans in Paris. When the em- 
pire was overthrown, Mr. Washburne was the 
first foreign rejiresentative to recognize the new 
republic. He remained in Paris during the siege, 
and was at his j)ost when the commune ruled the 
city. Tile emperor of Germany recognized his 
services by conferring ui)on him the Order of 
the Red Eagle. He declined this honor because 
a provision of the constitution of the United 
States prohibited it. Upon Mr. \\'ashburne's 
resignation in 1877, the emperor sent him his life- 
size portrait: and he was similarly honored by 
Bismarck, Theirs and Gambetta. Mr. W^ash- 
burne died in Chicago October 22. 1887. 

The apportionment of 1861 divided the state 
into thirteen districts. Winnebago county formed 
a part of the Second district, and General John F. 
Farnsworth represented the district during the 
full ten years. 

In 1872 the state was divided into nineteen 
districts, and Winnebago formed a part of the 
Fourth. General Steiihen .\. Hurlbut, of Belvi- 
dere, was elected, over lion. S. G. Bronson, then 
of Rockford. Gen. Hurlbut was re-elected over 
Gen. Farnsworth in 1874. 

Stephen .\. Flurlbut was born in Giarleston. 
South Carolina, in 1815. and settled in 
Belvidere in 1845. He was the son of a 
Unitarian clergyman, and a brother of Wil- 
liam Henry Hurlbut, for many years editor- 
in-chief of the New York World. He was 
commissioned a brigadier-general in 1861, com- 
manded the Fourth division at the battle of 
Shiloh, and for that service he was promoted to 
the rank of major-general, and assigned to the 
command of the department of the gulf. General 
Hurlbut was the first commander-in-chief of the 
Grand .'\rmy of the Rqiublic ; was appointed 
minister-resident to the United States of Colom- 
bia bv President Grant. In 1881 General Hurlbut 

was appointed United States minister to Peru, 
and died at Lima in the spring of the following 
year. .Abraham Lincoln once said that .^tejjhen 
.\. Ilurlinit was the ablest orator on the stump 
that Illinois had ever produced. 

Hon. William Lathrop was elected in 1876, 
and served one term. He is the only citizen of 
R(5ckford who ever held a seat in congress. 

John C. Sherwin, of .Aurora, was elected in 
1878, and re-elected in 1880. 

By the apportionment of 1882 Winnebago was 
attached to the Sixth district and Hon. Robert R. 
Hitt was its representative for ten years. In 
1893 Winnebago became a part of the Ninth dis- 
trict, and Mr. Hitt also sen-ed this district ten 

Congressman Hitt was born at Urbana, Ohio, 
January 16, 1834, and moved to Ogle county, 
Illinois, in 1837. His first public work of note 
was the stenographic report of the famous Lincoln 
and Douglas debates in 1858. He was first 
United States secretary of legation and charge d' 
affaires ad interim, at Paris, from 1874 to 1881. 
^Ir. Hitt was assistant secretary of .state of the 
United States in 1881. when James G. Blaine was 
at the head of the state department. 

Mr. Hitt's continuous service of twenty-three 
years in the house has given him a national repu- 
tation. Fie has for several years been chairman 
of the committee on foreign affairs, and is con- 
sidered one of the best authorities in this coun- 
try- on international law. In July, 1898. he was 
appointed by President McKinley. a member of 
the commission to establish a government for 
Hawaii, upon its annexation to the L'nited States. 

Edward D. Baker, E. B. Washburne, John F. 
Farnsworth. Stephen A. Hurlbut and Robert R. 
Hitt were men of national reputation who have 
served the several districts in which Rockford has 
from time to time been located. This record is 
scarcely less notable than that of the old Western 
Reser\'e district in Ohio, which was represented 
by Elisha ^^^^ittlesey. Joshua R. Giddings and 
James A. Garfield, terms aggregated fifty- 
one years. 

The apportionment of 1901 made Winnebago 
county a part of the Twelfth district. Judge 
Charles E. Fuller, of Belvidere, was nominated in 
1902, without opposition, and elected. He was 
also renominated in 1904 by acclamation, and re- 

Rockford has not been represented in congress 
by a democrat in fifty-one years, since the re- 
tirement of Thompson Campbell in 1853. 


A complete roster of the senators and repre- 
sentatives who have represented Winnebago 
county in the .state legislature is given herewith. 



There have been many apportionments, and the 
county has had quite a number of poHtical neigh- 
bors. Among these since the pioneer days have 
been Ogle, Boone, McHenry and Lake. 

\Mien Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake 
settled in Rockford in 1834, what is now Win- 
nebago county was a part of senatorial and repre- 
sentative districts which covered a large portion 
of northern Illinois. 

Under the apportionment of 1831 the counties 
of Peoria, Jo Daviess, Putnam, La Salle and Cook 
were united in one district, and had one senator 
and one representative. Winnebago countv. hav- 
ing been organized from attached portions of La- 
Salle and Jo Daviess, was included in this ter- 

At the election of 1832, James M. Strode was 
elected senator, and Benjamin Mills, representa- 
tive. In 1834 James W\ Stephenson was chosen 
senator, but he resigned and James M. Strode was 
chosen his successor. John Hamlin was elected 

Winnebago county was organized in 1836, and 
continued to l>e attached to Jo Daviess county in 
all general elections until the apportionment of 
1841. At the general election in 1836, A. G. S. 
\\"right, of Jo Daviess, was elected senator, and 
Elijah Charles and James Craig were elected rep- 
resentatives. In 1838 George W. Harrison was 
chosen senator, and served the district until a new 
apportionment was made. Germanicus Kent, of 
Winnebago, and James Craig, of Jo Daviess, were 
elected representatives. In 1840 Thomas Drum- 
mond, of Galena, and Hiram W. Thornton, of Jo 
Daviess, were elected representatives. 

The apportionment of February 26, 1841, pro- 
vided that the county of Winnebago should have 
one representative, Ogle one representative, ''and 
the two together one senator." The first election 
under this apportionment was held in 1842. 
Spooner Ruggles, of Ogle comity, was elected 
senator, and served four years. Before his term 
had expired, however, Mr. Ruggles had become 
a citizen of Winnebago county. In 1846 Anson 
S. Miller was elected senator and sen-ed two 

In 1842 Darius Adams was elected represent- 
ative from \\^innebago county, and served one 
term. In 1844 Anson S. Miller was elected, and 
served one term ; and in 1846 Robert J. Cross was 
elected and served one term. 

The constitution of 1848 divided the state into 
twenty-five senatorial districts, with one member 
each, and fifty-four representative districts, with 
a total of seventy-five members. 

L'nder this apportionment, McHenry, Boone 
and Winnebago counties constituted the Twenty- 
fourth senatorial district. At the first election 
Alfred E. Ames, of Winnebago county, was elect- 
ed senator. The senators, at their first session 

under the new constitution, were divided by lot.s 
into two classes. The seats of the first class were 
vacated at the expiration of the second year, and 
those of the second class at the expiration of the 
fourth year, so that one-half of the members were 
elected biennially. Mr. Ames drew the short term 
and served two years. In 1850 Thomas B. Tal- 
cott was elected senator, and served four years. 

LTnder this constitutional apportionment, Win- 
nebago county constituted the Forty-seventh rep- 
resentative district, with one member. Wilson H. 
Crandall was elected in 1848, and served one- 
term. Horace ^filler was elected in 1850, and 
served one term. In 1852 Abraham I. Enoch was 
elected and served two years. 

The act of February 27, 1854, apportioned the 
representation in the general assembly at twenty- 
five senators and seventy-five members of the 
house, with fifty-eight representative districts. 
Boone, Winnebago, Ogle and Carroll comprised 
the Third senatorial district. 

At the election in November, 1854, Wait Tal- 
cott, of Winnebago, was elected senator for the 
Third district, and served the full term of four 
years. In 1858 Zenas Applington, of Ogle, was 
elected, and served four years. 

The apportionment of 1854 made Winnebago 
county the Fifty-third representative district, with 
one member. In November of that year Wil- 
liam Lyman, of Rockford. was elected, and served 
two years. In 1856 William Lathrop was elected 
and served one term. Elijah W. Blaisdell, Jr., 
was elected in 1858, the year of the famous Lin- 
coln and Douglas debate. Mr. Blaisdell voted for 
.\braham Lincoln for L'nited States senator. In 
i860 Alfred A. Hale was elected and served one 

By the act of January 31, 1861, the repre- 
sentation was fixed at twenty-five senators and 
eighty-five members. The state was divided into 
twenty-five senatorial and si.xty-one represent- 
ative districts. Winnebago, Boone, McHenry and 
Lake constituted the Twentv-third senatorial dis- 

At the first election on this basis, in 1862, 
Cornelius Lansing, of McHenry, was elected 
senator, and served three years. Senator Lansing 
died August 26, 1865. In 1866 General Allen C. 
Fuller, of Belvidere, was elected senator, and was 
re-elected in 1870. 

LTnder the apportionment of 1861, Winnebago 
county was made the Fifty-fifth representative 
district, with one member. In 1862 Selden M. 
Church, of Rockford, was elected, and served one 
term. In 1864 William Brown, of Rockford, was 
elected, and served one term. Abraham I. Enoch 
was elected in 1866, and served one term. 
Ephraim Sumner was elected in 1868. 

The representation in the Twenty-seventh 
general assembly, which convened January 4, 



1871. was the first under the constitution of 1870, 
and was apportioneil by the governor and sec- 
retary of state. There were fifty senators and 
177 representatives. The state was divided into 
twenty-five senatorial districts, and ninety-seven 
representative districts. Winnebago, lloone, Mc- 
Henry and Lake comities constituted the Twenty- 
third senatorial district. At the election of 1870 
General .Mien C. Fuller, of lielvitlere. and John 
Early, of Rock ford, were elected senators. 

Winnebago county was made the Ninety-first 
re])resentative district, and at the election of 1S70 
James M. Wight and D. Emmons .\danis were 
elected members of the house. 

By the act of March i, 1872. the state was 
divided into fifty-one senatorial districts, as pro- 
vided by the constitution. Ivich district was en- 
titled to one senator. Winnebago and Boone 
counties comj^rised the .Xiiith senatorial district. 
At the general election in 1872 John ILirly, of 
Rockford. was elected senator for the Ninth dis- 
trict. Tlie constitution of 1870 provided that 
senators elected in 1872 .should vacate their of- 
fices at the expiration of two years. Mr. Early 
was re-elected in 1874 for the full tenn of four 
years, but died while in office, in Se])t ember. 1877. 

In 1878 Charles E. I'"uller. of lielviilere, was 
elected senator, after a notable triangular contest. 

Under the new constitution senatorial and rep- 
resentative districts became identical for the first 
time in the history of the state. Each district 
was entitled to three rej^resentatives. 

In 1872 Robert J. Cross and Duncan J. .Stew- 
art, of Winnebago county, and Jesse .^. Ilildruii. 
of Boone county, were elected rejjrescntatives for 
the Ninth senatorial district. Mr. Cross died in 
office. February 15, 1873. and Richard F. Craw- 
ford was chosen to complete his term. In 1874 
-Andrew .\shton and Ricliard F. Crawford, of 
Winnebago, and Myron K. .\very. of lloone, were 
electeft. George H. Hollister. John Budlong. and 
Andrew Ashton, all of Winnebago countv, were 
elected in 1876. In 1878 Omar H. Wright, of 
Boone, and Thomas Rutterworth and Horace W. 
Taylor, of Winnebago, were electetl. In i88o 
Edward B. .Sumner, of W'innebago. and Omar II. 
Wright, of Belvidcrc, were elected as rei)ublicans. 
and Laurence McDonald, of Winnebago, was the 
democratic minority representative. 

By the apportionment act of May. 18S2. Win- 
nebago and Ogle counties were united in the 
Tentli senatorial district. 

The first election under this apportioniuent was 
held in 1882. Lsaac Rice, of Ogle county, the hold- 
over senator from the old Twelfth district, had 
two years to serve, as it is a iirinciple of our 
present constitutional law that no man can be 
legislated oiu of office. There was therefore no 
election of senator until 18S4. when Edward B. 
Sumner was elected for the full term of four 

years. Benjaiuin F. Sheets, of Ogle county, suc- 
ceeded Mr. i^iunner in 1888, and served four 
years. In 1892 David Hunter, of W'innebago, 
was elected and served four years. 

In 1882 Albert F. Brown and John Seyster, of 
Ogle, and Edward B. Sumner, of Winnebago, 
were elected representatives for the Tenth district. 
Albert F. Brown, republican, of Ogle, David 
Hunter. repul)Iican, of Winnebago, and Edward 
M. Winslow, democrat, of Ogle, were elected in 
1884. In 1886 David Hunter, of Winnebago. 
James Lamont. of Winiiel)ago, prohibitionist, and 
James P. Wilson, republican, of Ogle, were 
elected representatives. From 1888 to 1890 David 
Hunter and Robert Simpson, of Winnebago, and 
\Vm. H. Co.K, of Ogle, represented the district. In 
1890 James P. Wilson and Prescott Talbot, of 
Ogle, and David Hunter, of W'innebago, were 
elected. In i8y2 James P. Wilson and Prescott 
H. Talbot, of Ogle county, and Lars M. Noling. 
of W'innebago, were elected representatives. 

By the apportionment act of June 15, 1893, 
W^innebago and Ogle counties were continued as 
the Tenth district. 

The first election for senator under this ap- 
portionment was held in 1896. when Delos ^^^ 
Baxter, of Roclielle. was elected senator for the 
full term. In 1900 Henry Andrus. of Winne- 
bago, was elected senator, and his term expired 
January i. 1905. 

The first election for representatives under this 
apportionment was in 1894. when Lars M. Noling 
and C. Harry Woolsey, of Winnebago, and X'iclor 
H. Bovey. f)f Ogle, were elected for this district. 
In 1896 Lars M. Noling and Henry Andrus. of 
Winnebago, and ^'ictor H. Piovey. of Ogle, all 
rei)ublicans, were elected. In 1898 Henry .Andrus 
and I'rank S. Regan, of Winnebago, and James 

A. Countryman, of Ogle, were elected. In 1900 
James .\. Countryman and James P. Wilson, of 
Ogle, and David Hunter, of Winnebago, were 

l>y the act of May 10, npr. Winnelxigo and 
Ogle counties were for a third time made the 
Tenth senatorial district. 

.\t the election in 1902 Frederick Haines, rc- 
])ublican. of W^innebago. Johnson Lawrence, re- 
])ublican, of Ogle, and James P. Wilson, demo- 
crat, of Ogle, were elected representatives. 

B. McHenry, of Ogle, were elected representa- 

At the general election in November. 1904. .A. 
J. .Anderson was elected senator, and Frederick 
Haines and C. E. Martin, of Winnebago, and W. 
P.. McHenry. of Ogle, were elected represent- 

jrouiAi. iiisroRV — circuit rencii. 

The first circuit court held in Winnebago 
county convened ( )ctober Ct. 1837. at the house of 



Daniel S. Haight. This was the frame huilding 
which stood on the northeast corner of Madison 
and State streets, a part of which is now on the 
northeast corner of Second and Wahiut streets. 
Hon. Daniel Stone, of Galena, was the presiding 
judge. Seth B. Farwell was appointed state's 
attorney pro tern ; and James Mitchell, then of 
Jo Daviess county, was made clerk. 

Under the first constitution of Illinois, the 
justices of the supreme court and the judges of 
the inferior courts were elected by joint ballot of 
the legislature. This made the courts in a sense, 
the creatures of the legislature, rather than a co- 
ordinate branch of the government. The legisla- 
ture is always governed more or less by partisan 
expediency, and the reflex action u]ion the judi- 
ciary compromised its independence. 

The first judicial apportionment which afifected 
Winnebago county was the act of the legislature 
of January 17. 1835, by which the state was 
divided into six judicial circuits. 

Under this first apportionment, what is now 
Winnebago county formed a part of the Sixth 
circuit. Thomas Ford was commissioned Janu- 
ary ly, 1835, but he never presided over a court 
within the present limits of Winnebago county. 
Judge Ford resigned in March. 1837, and was 
elected governor in 1842. He was the author of 
Ford's History of Illinois, an historical classic. 
Judge Ford was succeeded by Judge Stone, who 
was commissioned March 4, 1837. 

Judge Stone, a native of \'ermont, became a 
member of the Springfield bar in 1833. Upon his 
elevation to the bench, he was assigned to the 
northwestern part of the state, and removed to 
Galena. Judge Stone was legislated out of office 
in 1 84 1. He removed a few years later from the 
state, and died in New Jersey. 

The Seventh judicial circuit was created Feb- 
ruar\- 4. 1837, and February 23, 1839, the Eighth 
and Ninth circuits were created. Judges were 
appointed for these additional circuits. 

The judiciarv of the state was reorganized in 
1841 by a statute which repealed all former laws 
authorizing the election of circuit judges, who 
were legislated out of office. The state was 
divided into nine circuits. Additional justices of 
the supreme court were appointed, who were re- 
quired to do circuit duty. The judiciary, as thus 
organized, was continued until the entire system 
of an appointive judiciary was swept away by the 
new constitution of 1848. 

Under this new system the first judge assigned 
to circuit duty in Rockford was Hon. Thomas 
C. Browne, who presided at the first term of court 
in the courthouse completed in 1844. James 
Mitchell was clerk, and G. A. Sanford. sheriff^. 
Judge Browne was a native of Kentucky, and 
came to Illinois before its organization as a state. 
Upon the adoption of the first constitution, he 

was elevated to the supreme bench, and served 
continuously thirty years, until the reorganiza- 
tion of the judiciary under the constitution of 
1848. An attempt was made before the legisla- 
ture in 1843 to impeach his ability as a judge. 
Nearly every attorney of the Winnebago county 
bar signed a petition for his removal, but the at- 
tempt resulted in failure. Judge Browne died in 
San Francisco, California, about 1857. 

Hon. Jesse B. Thomas succeeded Judge 
Browne in 1847 ^^ presiding judge of Winne- 
bago county, and served until the judiciary sys- 
tem was changed in 1848. Judge Thomas first 
held the position of circuit judge from 1837 to 
1839. In 1843 he became associate judge of the 
supreme court by appointment of the governor, 
as successor to Stephen A. Douglas, and was sub- 
sequently elected by the legislature to the same 
office. He died in Chicago February 21, 1850. 

Hon. Hugh T. Dickey was the first judge to 
preside in Rockford after the adoption of the 
second constitution. Hugh Thompson Dickey 
came to Illinois from New York in 1840. and set- 
tled in Chicago. In September, 1848, he was 
elected judge of the Seventh judicial circuit. He 
died in New York, his native city, June 2, 1892. 

Hon. Hugh Henderson, of Joliet, succeeded 
Judge Dickey, and presided in 1848 and 1849. 
He died soon afterward, and little is known of 

Judge Benjamin R. Sheldon succeeded Judge 
Henderson. Judge Sheldon was a native of jMas- 
sachusetts. He came to Illinois at an early day, 
and resided first at Hennepin, and later at Galena. 
He was elected in 1848 judge of the Sixth circuit, 
which was afterward divided, and he was as- 
signed to the Fourteenth circuit. He remained 
on the circuit bench until 1870. when he was elect- 
ed a justice of the supreme bench, presiding as 
chief justice in 1877. He was re-elected in 1879, 
and retired in 1888. Judge Sheldon then became 
a resident of Rockford, where he died April 13, 
1897. He left an estate valued at $2,000,000. 
He bequeathed $10,000 to the Young Men's 
Christian Association of Rockford. and $10,000 
to Rockford College, 

Hon. William Brown was the first citizen of 
Rockford to be elected to the circuit bench. Judge 
Brown was a native of England, born in Cum- 
berland, June I, 1819. His father's family came 
to America in 1827, and settled in New York. 
The son read law in Rome, and, after being ad- 
mitted to the bar, came to Rockford in 1846. In 
1852 Mr. Brown was elected by a large majority 
state's attorney for the Fourteenth judicial cir- 
cuit, comprising Winnebago, Stephenson and Jo 
Daviess counties, serving for four years. Mr. 
Brown was elected mayor of Rockford in 1857, 
and in 1864 he was chosen member of the legis- 
lature. In 1870 ^Ir. Brown was elected a judge 



of the circuit court, to fill the vacancy occasioned 
by the promotion of Judge Sheldon to the su- 
preme bench. Under the judicial apportionment 
of March 28. 1873. Jo Daviess. Stephenson and 
Winnelxiijo counties formed the First circuit. In 
the following June Judge I'.rown was elected for 
the full tenii of six years. He was subsequently 
elected for two full terms, making a total period 
of over t^venty years on the bench. Judge I'.rown 
died January 15, 1891. 

By the apportionment of 1873 the legislature, 
in accordance with the provisions of the constitu- 
tion of 1870. divided tlie state, exclusive of Cook 
county, into twenty-six judicial circuits. In 1877 
the legislature, in order to increase the number of 
circuit judges, and to provide for the organiza- 
tion of appellate courts, divided the state, outside 
of Cook county, into thirteen districts, and pro- 
vided for the election of one additional judge in 
each district. In August, 1877, one additional 
judge for each circuit was elected for two years, 
making three judges in each district. 

I'nder this act, in force July i, 1877. the First 
judicial circuit, of which Winnebago county 
formed a part, was consolidated with the Third 
circuit, and made the Thirteenth. By this ap- 
portionment Judge Hcaton. formerly of the Third 
circuit, and Judge Bailey became judges of the 
circuit court of \\'innebago county, in addition to 
Judge Brown. 

Hon. William W. Heaton was a native of New 
York, and settled at Dixon, Illinois, in 1840. In 
1861 he was elected judge of the Twenty-second 
circuit, and occupied a seat upon the liench, 
through repeated re-elections, until his death. De- 
ceml)er 26. 1877, while ser\-ing as a member of 
the ajipellate court for the First district. 

Judge Joseph M. Bailey, a native of New York, 
settled in Freeport, Illinois, in 1856, and began 
the practice of law. His first election to the 
bench in 1877 was for two years, l)ut he was re- 
elected in 1879 and 1885. He was several times 
assigned to duty on the ajipellate bench, and in 
1888 he was elected to the Ix^nch of the supreme 
court. Judge Bailev died in office October 16. 

Hon. John V. Eustace came to Illinois in 1842 
from Philadelphia, his native city. He settled in 
Dixon, where he resided until his death. He was 
first elected circuit judge in 1857. and served one 
term. In March. 1878, he was again elevated to 
the bench to succeed Judge Heaton. He was re- 
elected in 1879. and again in 1885. Judge Eus- 
tace died in Dixon in 1888. 

Judge John D. Crabtree was a native of Eng- 
land, and emigrated to .America in the early ■40s. 
He went from Chicago to Pecatonica. where he 
worked on a farm for the late Ephraim Sumner. 
He then made his home in Lee count v, where hi« 
entire subsequent life was spent. He was state 

senator for the Nineteenth district in the thirty- 
fifth general assembly, where he was a colleague 
of Hon. E. B. Sumner. June 4. 1888, he was 
elected judge of the Thirteenth circuit, to suc- 
ceed Judge Bailey. June i, 1891, he was re- 
elected for the full term. Judge Crabtree died 
suddenly at Ottawa, May 22, 1902, while attend- 
ing a session of the appellate court. 

Judge James H. Cartwright is a son of Rev. 
Peter Cartwright, the famous pioneer Methodist 
preacher. He began the practice of law at Ore- 
gon, in Ogle county, in 1870. In 1888 he was 
elected circuit judge to succeed Judge Eustace, 
and in 1891 he was assigned to appellate duty. In 
1895 he was elected justice of the supreme court 
to succeed Judge Bailey, and re-elected in 1897. 

Hon. James Shaw is a native of Ireland. His 
career as an attorney began at Mount Carroll. Il- 
linois. He served eight years in the Illinois house 
of representatives, and was speaker of that body 
in 1877. In 1 89 1 he was elected judge for the 
Thirteenth circuit, and in 1897 he was re-elected 
for the Fifteenth circuit, under the last appor- 

John C. Garver was a native of Winnebago 
county. He was born on a farm near Pecatonica. 
He took a full collegiate course at Wittcnburg 
College, Springfield. Ohio, and studied law under 
the tutorshiji of General Keifer, at one time speak- 
er of the lower house of congress. In 1871 Mr. 
Garver was admitted to the bar, and began the 
practice of his profession in Rockford. In 1872 
he was elected state's attorney of Winnebago 
county, and re-elected in 1876. In 1896 Mr. Gar- 
ver was elected to the circuit bench, to succeed 
Judge James Cartwright, upon the elevation of 
the latter to the supreme bench. Judge Girver 
was elected judge of the Seventeenth circuit, un- 
der the apportionment of 1897. Judge Garver 
died November 27. 1901. 

Under the apportioimient of 1897. McHenry, 
Boone, Lake and Winnebago counties constituted 
the Seventeenth circuit. In June of that year Hon. 
Giarles IT. Donnelly, of Waukcgan. and Hon. 
Charles E. Ftdler were elected with Judge Gar- 
ver, already noted. 

Hon. Giarles E. Fuller is a native of Boone 
county, where his entire life has been spent. He 
was born in Flora township in 1849. After his 
admission to the bar in 1870 his rise to political 
prominence was very rapid. Ilis first office was 
that of citv attorney of Belvidere. In 1876 he 
was elected state's attorney of Boone county. Two 
vears later he was elected state senator after a 
bitter contest that has Ix^come historic. Judge 
Fullers' legislative experience covers eight years 
in the state senate, and six in the house. In the 
memorable struggle over the I'nited State sen- 
atorship in 1885, Mr. Fuller was the recognized 
leader of the "Famous 103." which stood to- 



gether until the re-election of General John A. 
Logan was accomplished, after a contest of four 
months. In 1897 Mr. Fuller was elected judge 
of the Seventeenth circuit for the full term of six 
years. In 1902 Judge Fuller was nominated 
member of congress for the Twelfth district with- 
out opposition, and in 1904 he was renominated 
with the same unique distinction. While Judge 
Fuller's temper is pre-eminently that of a parlia- 
mentary leader, yet he achieved the reputation as 
one of the fairest judges upon the local bench. 

Upon the death of Judge Garver. Hon. A. H. 
Frost was elected in 1902 to fill the unexpired 
term. Judge Frost was born in A'ermont, May 
12, 1856. In 1861 he came to Rockford, where 
he has since resided. Judge Frost read law in the 
office of the late Major N. C. Warner, and was 
admitted to the bar January 19, 1879. For some 
years thereafter he served Rockford as police 
magistrate. He was elected state's attorney of 
Winnebago county in 1892, and re-elected in i8g6 
and 1900. This office he resigned February 24, 

The election of Judge Fuller as member of 
congress involved his retirement from the bench, 
and at the judicial election held in June, 1903, 
Hon. A. H. Frost, Charles H. Donnelly and Hon. 
Robert W. Wright were elected judges of the 
Seventeenth circuit for the full term of six years. 

Judge Wright is the youngest judge who ever 
sat upon the circuit bench in Rockford. He is 
the elder son of the late Hon. O. H. Wright, of 
Belvidere, who once represented Rockford district 
in the state legislature. Judge Wright was born 
July I, 1862. He read law in his father's office, 
and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty- 
one. In 1884 he was elected state's attorney of 
Boone county, and was re-elected in 1888. 1892 
and 1896, serving sixteen years. 

Judge Charles H. Donnelly is a native of 
Woodstock, Illinois, where he was born August 
22, 1835. He received his collegiate education at 
Notre Dame University, and was admitted to the 
bar in January, 1877. From 1883 to 1891 he was 
city attorney of Woodstock. In 1886 he was 
elected captain of Company G, Third Regiment. 
Illinois National Guard, which position he held 
until 1892. In i8go he was elected county judge, 
and served until June, 1897, when he resigned 
and was elected a judge of the Seventeenth cir- 
cuit. Judge Donnelly was re-elected in 1903. In 
July, 1902, Judge Donnelly heard the arguments 
in the locally famous library site case, in cham- 
bers at Woodstock. 


Previous to 1837 a judge of probate was ap- 
pointed for each county by the legislature. In 
1837 the office was made elective, with the title 
of probate justice of the peace, to be filled by a 

vote of the people. The constitution of 1848 
brought this court to an end, and transferred its 
powers to the judge of the county court. 

Milton Kilburn was the first judge of probate, 
and served from 1836 to 1837. Mr. Kilburn was 
a settler of 1835. 

Charles I. Horsman was the second judge of 
probate, and held the office from 1837 to 1838. 
Mr. Horsman came to Rockford in 1836, with 
his bride, the only daughter of Abiram Morgan. 
Mr. Horsman was one of the best known citi- 
zens of Winnebago county. 

Anson Barnum was the third probate judge, 
and held the office from 1838 to 1841. He was a 
son of Ezra Barnum, the first shoemaker of the 
village. The family settled in Rockford in 1835. 

John W. Taylor held the office from 1841 to 
1843. He was a prominent citizen of early Rock- 
ford. and a brother-in-law of the late T. D. Rob- 

Bela Shaw was probate justice of the peace 
from 1843 to 1849. Judge .Shaw came to Rock- 
ford in the later '30s. He died suddenlv. Alav 
31, 1865. 

Selden M. Church was the first county judge 
under the constitution of 1848, and held the of- 
fice froiu 1849 to 1837. Judge Church was a 
member of the constitutional convention of 1847, 
and later was a member of the legislature. 

Anson S. Miller succeeded Judge Church, and 
served from 1857 to 1863. Judge ililler also 
served at various times as senator, representative 
and postmaster. He was a brother of Cyrus F. 
and Asher Miller. 

Abram S. Van Dyke, of Pecatonica, was elected 
in 1863, and served until 1873, when he resigned, 
just before the expiration of his term. 

Judge R. C. Bailey was first chosen in 1873 to 
fill the unexpired term of Judge Van Dyke. At 
the county election in that year he was elected, 
and has held the office thirty-two years. This 
long service on the bench is without parallel in 
the history of Winnebago county, and, so far as 
known to the writer, is without precedent in Illi- 
nois. Judge Bailey was born in Auburn, Maine, 
July 28. 1833, and was graduated from the scien- 
tific department of Amherst College, Massachu-' 
setts, in 1833. He came to Rockford and entered 
the profession of civil engineer, which he fol- 
lowed until 1838, when he took up the study of 
law, and was admitted to the bar August 18. i860. 
He practiced in this citv until he was elected to 
his present position. His pleasant bearing and 
judicial fairness have made him .'in 'deal official, 
and the honor bestowed upon him is a partial 
demonstration of the esteem in whxh he is held. 


Under the first constitution this officer was 
clerk of the countv commissioners' court. From 



1841^ t(i 1835 1k' was till' ck-rk of the (.-niiiiix court 
and of the btiard of supervisors. In tlie latter 
year a separate clerk was apiiointed by the board, 
under a special act of the legislature. These offi- 
cers were subsequently united. The following 
n.iined citizens have served as county clerk: 

Don .\loiizo Si)auldiiig. 1836 to 1837: Nathan- 
iel Looniis, 1837 to 1838: .\nsi>n lianiuni. 1838 Id 
1840: Sehlen M. Church. 1840 to 1847; Benja- 
min .\. Rose. 1847 '" 1849: \Vniiani Hulin, 1844 
to .\i)ril 2. iSs5 ; Duncan Ferguson. 1855 to 1856; 
E. S. Gaylord. 1856 to 1867: I. S. Hyatt. 1867 
to 1869; T. I. Laniont, 1869 to 1873; !>. F. Lee. 
1873 to 1877; Thomas Bell. 1877 to 1886; Mar- 
cus .\. .Norton, to date, a period of nineteen years. 


Rock ford has never assumed the role of polit- 
ical dictator outside of its own area of local inter- 
ests. Perhaps, however, there are comjiensations 
and balances in communal as well as individual 
life. Certain it is that our city lias jiroduced a 
goodly number of what the late Senator Zach 
Chandler called "literary fellers." The general 
reader will doubtless be surprised to learn that 
not less than eighty books have been written by 
persons who have been, for a greater or lesser 
|)eriod. actual residents of Rockford. Only .i 
small number, however, have been written while 
the aiuhors claimed Rockford as their home. The 
majority attained this distinctinn after removal 
to other fields. It is. therefore, in no invidious 
sense that it may be said that Rockford is a good 
])lace from which to emigrate. It is the ])ur])osc 
of this chapter to present as comjilete a list as 
Ijossible of these authors. 

David (;. Croly and his famous wife. "Jennie 
June." edited the Rockford Daily .News from 
I-'ebruary 1859, to April, i860. Mr. Croly subse- 
(|Uently became city etlitor of the New York 
World, and later its managing editor. He wrote 
"Lives of Seymour and Blair." "A History of Re- 
construction." and ".\ Primer of Positivism." 

"Jennie June" is best known to the world as the 
editor of Demorest's .Magazine. .Mrs. Croly's ])en 
name uf "Jennie June" was derived from a little 
^)oem written by Benjamin F. Taylor, sent to her 
when she was about twelve years old, by her pas- 
tor, with the name underlined, because, he said. 
"You are the Juniest little girl I know." Mrs. 
Croly's books are : "Talks on Women's Toi^ics." 
"T'or lietter or Worse." "Thrown l'])on her Own 
Resources." "Knitters and Crochet." "Letters and 
.Monograms." "Cookery l!ook for Young Begin- 
ners." "History of the Woman's Club Move- 

Itishop John H. N'incent. who has achieved 
world-wide fame as the founder of the ChaiUau(|ua 
Literary and Scientific Circle, was [lastor of the 

Court Street .M. F. church from 1861 to 1864. 
During this pastorate he took a trip to Europe in 
company with Hon. R. H. Tinker. Bishop \'in- 
cent's published works arc : "The Modern Sun- 
day School." "Studies in Young Life." "Little 
l-'ootjirints in Bible Lands," "The Church. School 
.'ind Sundav School Institutes." "ICarthly I'oot- 
prints of the Man of (ialilee." "Better .Not," "The 
Chautauqua Movement." "To Old Piethlehem." 
"Outline Histories of England. Greece and 
Rome," "Our Own Qiurch." 

Rev. E. C. .Mitchell, the first jiastor of the State 
Street Baptist church, was subset|uently profes- 
sor of Piiblical literature at Shurtleff College, pro- 
fessor of Hebrew in Regent's I 'ark College. Lon- 
don, and hekl similar positions at .Nashville, New 
Orleans and Paris, France. Mr. Mitchell revised 
and edited Davies' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. 
With this he issued "The Principles of Hebrew 
Grammar." In 1880 he issued a new translation 
of (jesenius' Hebrew Grammar. 

Dr. Henry M. Goodwin, for twenty-one years 
]iastor of the h'irst Congregatit)nal church, was a 
gentleman of scholarly tastes. In 1875 he i)ub- 
lished his work. "Christ and Humanity." which 
was dedicated "To Horace Bushnell. my revered 
friend and teacher, whose profound and sancti- 
fied genius has made the world his debtor, and 
whose eminent services to Christianity in the re- 
conciliation of faith and reason awail thr \-t,'rdiot 
of the future ages." 

In 1864 Rev. Mead Holmes ])ublished a memoir 
of his only son. Mead Holmes. Jr.. with the title. 
■'.\ Soldier of the Cumberland." This young .sol- 
dier fell at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. .Ajiril 12. 
iSCfi,. at the age of twentv-one vears. 

Mary F. Holmes. Ph. 'D.. i)ublishe(l in 1887 
"The Morphology of the Carinae l'i)on the Septa 
of Rugose Corals. " The book, finely illustrated, 
bears the imprint of a Boston publishing lu)use. 
The work was presented as a thesis for the de- 
gree of Doctor of Philosophy, in the L^niversity 
of Michigan, and is signed by Professor . Alexan- 
der \\"inchell. the well-known scientist and author 
of "Preadaiuites." 

Mrs. S. M. I. Henry was one of the first wom- 
en to devote her life to gospel temperance work- 
in a public maiuicr. Her writings arc: ".\fter 
the Truth Series," "X'ictoria,'' "Pledge and 
Cross," "\'oice of the Home," "Mabel's Work," 
"One More Chance," "P>eforehand." "Marble 
Cross." "L'nanswered Prayer." "Frances Ray- 
mond's Investment." 

The late l''liiah W. Blaisdill was a man of 
versatile talents, .\bout twenty-five years ago he 
wrote "The Hidden Record," a novel, the scene 
of whicli was laid in the war of 181 2. The book 
was ])ublished by the Lippincotts, of Philadel- 
phia. .\ short tiiuc before his death Mr. Blais- 



dell completed "The Rajah," a political burlescjue, 
and "Eva, the General's Daughter," foimded on 
incidents of the Black Hawk war. 

Rev. Henry C. Mabie, D. D., formerly pastor 
of the State Street Baptist church, was in 1890 
chosen home secretary of the American Baptist 
Missionary Union. Previous to entering upon his 
duties, he made a tour of the mission fields, which 
were to come under his supervision. His obser- 
vations were published under the title "In Bright- 
est Asia." 

The late Mrs. Mary Braiiiard, an old resident 
of Rockford, was a hospital nurse during the 
Civil war. She published three volumes of verse : 
"Esther Gray and ( )ther Poems," "Memorial 
Pictures of War and Peace," "Heart Offerings." 
Robert P. Porter, superintendent of the elev- 
enth census, and widely known as a writer on 
economic subjects, began his newspaper career 
as city editor of the Rockford Gazette. His books 
are : "The West in 1880," "Life of William Mc- 
Kinlev," "Municipal Ownership at Home and 
Abroad," "Industrial Cuba." 

The later Frederick C. Pierce, another city edi- 
tor of the Gazette, made a specialty of compiling 
genealogies. His last achievement was a "Gene- 
alogy of the Field Family," for Marshall Field, 
the merchant prince of Chicago. This work is in 
two large volumes, and a copy has been presented 
to the public library. While in Rockford Mr. 
Pierce published "Picturesque and Descriptive 
History of the City of Rockford," and "The Life 
of Hon. Robert M. A. Hawk." member of con- 

Professor J. D. S. Riggs, late of Ottawa Uni- 
versity, Kansas, spent many years of his early life 
in Rockford. His father was a charter member 
of the State Street Baptist church. Professor 
Riggs has published "In Latinuni," a Latin text- 
book founded on Caesar, which was formerly 
used in the Rockford high school. 

Professor Henry Freeman published in 1873 
a book entitled "Wonders of the \\'orld." It is 
a work both of compilation and original work. 
It bears the imprint of a Boston publisher. 
.^ Dr. George W. Brown's "Researches in Ori- 
■'''ental History" has had four editions. It is an in- 
quirv into the origin of, Zoroasticism 
and Christianity. "Or. Brown founded the first 
free state paper in Kansas. It was called the 
Herald of Freedom, published at Lawrence. The 
doctor has bound files of this paper in his office. 
Dr. Brown clainis the distinction of furnishing a 
truthful statement of the alleged adoption of the 
Lecompton constitution to Stephen A. Douglas, 
upon which the senator repudiated that measure 
and broke with the Buchanan wing of the de- 

Rev.' Frank P. Woodbury published in 1883 
"Luther and the Annals of the Reformation," 

as the outcome of a series of historical sermons 
delivered in the Second Congregational church. 
Rev. R. !•'. V. Pierce was the third pastor of 
the State Street Baptist church to enter the field 
of book-writing. During his Rockford pastorate 
he wrote and published "Pictured Truth." 

Mrs. Ralph Emerson published in 1891 the life 
and letters of her son, Ralph Emerson, Jr., who 
was killed in August, 1889. It is a beautiful 
tribute to a worthy son, wdio gave promise of 
great usefulness in later years. Mrs. Emerson 
has also published a volume of verse, "Love- 
Bound, and Other Poems," which is dedicated to 
her husband and children. 

The late John H. Thurston made a valuable 
contribution to local history in his "Reminis- 
cences," published in 1891. In this little volume 
the author graphically portrayed that pioneer so- 
cial life in which he moved. 

Airs. Harriott \\'ight Sherratt published in 
1899 a delightful volume of travel, with the title, 
"^Mexican Vistas." The local demand for this 
book has been great, and the sale in the general 
trade has been most gratifying. 

Harrv M. Johnson is the author of a small vol- 
ume, entitled "Edith: A Story of Chinatown,' 
the scene of which is laid in the Chinese district 
in Los Angeles, California. 

Rev. J. B. Robinson, D. D., formerly pastor of 
Grace M. E. church, has written a volume of 
verse, "The New Woman, and Other Poems." 

Alexander McCleneghan, formerly a well- 
known local newspaper writer, has written "Six 
Years in Heaven," founded upon the strange ca- 
reer of George Jacob Schweinfurth. 

;\Irs. H. Houghton Chapel, JNI. D., published a 
small volume of poems in 1901. She now resides 
in Palmetto, Florida. 

Eugene Brown and Ford Rowe, formerly con- 
nected with the Register-Gazette, compiled a 
work, "Industrial and Picturesque Rockford." 

Charles Eugene Banks, formerly city editor of 
the Register-Gazette, has Dublished a volume of 
verse, "Sword and Cross, and Other Poems." Mr. 
Banks was also associated with George Cram 
Cook in writing "In Hampton Roads," a drama- 
tic romance, which was once quite popular with 
local readers. Mr. Banks most popular work is 
"The Child of the Sun," a beautifully illustrated 
work of juvenile fiction. 

Mrs. C. C. Jones' book, "Humanities," is an 
interesting series of meditations upon life, duty 
and manners. She presents her father as the 
highest ideal of the manly virtues. The book 
was dedicated to the late Dr. Thomas Kerr. 

Mrs. Carrie Grout's volume, "By the Way," is 
a collection of sketches, written in popular news- 
paper style. 

Mrs. Eliza Roe Shannon, who recently died in 
the west, a music teacher of Rockford in the 



earlv '60s, wrote the life of her father, the ven- 
erable Charles Hill Roe. for fifteen years pastor 
of the First Baptist church of Belvidcre. Dr. Roe 
perfonned a unique service to his country, simi- 
lar to that of Henry Ward Bceclier. in delivering 
addresses in Eng^land and creatintj northern sen- 
timent durins: the Civil war. 

Daniel Fish, formerly a student in the Rockford 
schools, has compiled the most complete Lincoln 

Charles A. Church's "History of Rockford" 
was issued in 1900. This is believed to be the 
largest volume of exclusively original work un- 
dertaken by a Rockford writer. Mr. Church has 
also written the life of Ccneral .Mien C. Fuller, 
the war adjutant of Illinois. He has also edited 
several pamphlets. 

The autobiography of Elder Jacob Knapp was 
published in 1867. It is an interesting volume, 
revealing the inner life and notable exjieriences 
of one of the remarkable men of his time. 

\\'i]liam Hulin edited a work on school law, 
with forms, which was of value to teachers. 

Miss Julia Gulliver, president of Rockford Col- 
lege, collaborated with Edward Bradford Titch- 
ener, sage professor of psychology- in Cornell 
University, in translating the first volume of 
"Facts of the Moral Life." This is a work in 
three volumes, by William W'undt, professor of 
philosophy in the I'niversity of Leii)zig. The 
translation was published in 1897 in New York 
and London. The second and third volumes were 
translated by Margaret Floy Washburn, profes- 
sor of psycholog}- and ethics in Wells College. 

Giarles J. Woodbury, a half-brother of Rev. 
Frank P. Woodbury, formerly pastor of the Sec- 
ond Congregational church. pul)lislu'<l a volume 
in 1890 entitled "Talks With Ralph Waldo Em- 

.•\lfrcd H. Henry has written a story of Mor- 
mon life in Utah, "By Order of the Prophet." 
Mr. Henry is a son of the late Mrs. S. M. I. 
Henry, and lived in Rockford when a boy. 

"Annals of a Quiet Country Town" is a vol- 
ume of sketches written by Mrs. Julia Katherine 
Barnes, and illustrated by E. Warde Blaisdeli. 
It is a series of local character sketches. Among 
the portraits are those of the late Dr. Thomas 
Kerr and H. H. Waldo. 

Fay Lewis has edited and compiled a small 
volume. "The City Jail." It is a plea for more 
enlightened views and humane practices toward 
those who have been guilty of offenses against 
good order. .-\ number of local writers contrib- 
uted to the symposium. 

General A. L. Gietlain's "Recollections of Sev- 
enty Years" is an interesting volume of reminis- 
cences, and contains valuable information con- 
cerning men and events in northern Illinois. 

"Rockford Today" is an attractive volume is- 
sued in 1904 by the Rockford Morning Star Com- 

l)any. It is historical, descriptive and biograph- 
ical. It is printed on calendered paper, and the 
illustrations arc most excellent. 


Rockford ranks third among the cities of the 
L'nited States in the manufacturing of furniture. 
It is surpassed only in this respect by Qiicago and 
Grand Rapids. This industry has been entirely 
developed since the Civil war. There were, how- 
ever, individuals who made furniture in a small 
way at a much earlier ])eriod. 

Thomas Johnson, an English cabinet-maker, 
came to Rockford in 1837. He is the first man 
of whom there is any record who depended en- 
tirely for a livelihood on the manufacture of fur- 
niture in this city. He occupied a basement room 
in the old Rockford House, which was kept by 
Henrv Thurston. Mr. Johnson had no machin- 
erv. -Ml his work was done by hand, and his s]jc- 
cialties were ottomans, chairs and tables. He 
later removed from the city. 

From that time there was no regular manufac- 
turer of furniture in Rockford until 1853. In that 
year the first factory for this purpose was erected 
between Sixth and Seventh streets, near Fourth 
avciuie, bv William Silsbe and Abraham Deyo. 
The liuilding was called a factory, although it 
had very little machinery. It was a two-story 
structure, located in a section then known as "the 
woods." The timber used in making the furni- 
ture was obtained by hewing down large native 
trees which surrounded it. The firm had an of- 
fice and salesroom on South First street, between 
State and Walnut, in the frame structure now oc- 
curred by E. J. Welch as a livery stable, .\bout a 
dozen men were emi)loyed. The enterprise was 
not very successful, and the firm dissolved. 

Charles Burpee, a brother of the late A. C. 
Burpee, who lived in a building called the "Pep- 
perbox" on South First street, made a small 
amount of furniture in the office rooms of Silsbe 
& Deyo, after the dissolution of that firm. 

A. C. Burpee was one of the pioneer furniture 
men of Rockford, although he was not a manu- 
facturer. He came to Rockford in 1853, and was 
for a time a salesman in Silsbe & Deyo's store. 
He opened a furniture store in a frame building 
which stood on or near the site of Harry B. P.ur- 
pee's store on West State street. In 1857 Wil- 
liam Werner became a partner, and the finn con- 
tinued until about i860, when the firm name was 
changed to Burpee & Groneman. Mr. Grone- 
Tuan retired in 1871, and the business has since 
been conducted by the Burpee family. 

In 1854 Peter Marshall made walnut tables in 
his cariHMiter's shop on the northwest comer of 
State and Wyman streets, where he was in busi- 
ness for manv vears. 



R. Cook & Co., the predecessors of J. B. 
]\Iarsh & Co., in 1854 began on a small scale the 
manufacture of tables, mattresses and upholstered 
goods. The firm occupied the second floor of a 
building which stood on the site of F. J. Leon- 
ard's block on East State street. All the goods 
were sold in the city, and the firm is reported to 
have succeeded fairly well. 

John Nelson, a native of Sweden, came to 
Rockford in 1852. He was an inventive genius, 
and in early life had paid especial attention to 
designing and model-making. He worked for a 
time for William Ghent, who had a shop on the 
water-power. In 1865 he formed a partnership 
with -\ndrew C. Johnson and Gust Hollem in the 
manufacturing of sash, doors and blinds. IVIr. 
Johnson learned the cabinet-maker's trade in 
Rockford, and after Mr. Nelson and Mr. Hollem 
had retired from the firm in 1869, he conducted 
the business as sole proprietor on the water-power 
and began in a small way the manufacture of fur- 
niture. In 1872 he formed a partnership with J. 
P. Anderson. It was during the existence of this 
firm that the late Jonas Peters, then a traveling 
salesman, induced the firm to extend its business 
by the manufacture of new lines of goods, and to 
Mr. Peters is due in no small degree the honor of 
first promoting the fu niture industry outside of 
the local market. Mr. Peters had been engaged 
in the retail furniture trade in Belvidere before 
coming to Rockford. 

In 1873 L. D. Upson was admitted as a third 
member of the firm, and a factory on the site of 
the Central furniture plant was erected. Mr. 
Johnson retired, and E. L. Herrick became a 
member of the firm, which was known as Upson 
& Herrick. The factory of Upson & Herrick 
was destroyed by fire January 21. 1877. William 
N. Upson, a watchman, and a brother of the 
senior member of the firm, lost his life. 

Ellsworth & Parker began the manufacture of 
furniture on a small scale in Bartlett's stone feed 
house on the water-power in 1873. The firm had 
some machinery, but the enterprise did not last 
more than a year or two. when the firm went to 

A. C. Johnson, upon leaving the water-power, 
in company with J. P. Anderson, established an 
independent business in a building at the comer 
of Railroad avenue and Seventh street. In 1874 
the late Gilbert Woodruff became interested in 
this industry, and in that year the Forest City 
Furniture Company was organized. It is, there- 
fore, the real pioneer in the manufacture of furni- 
ture on a large scale in Rockford. A four-story 
brick building was erected on Railroad avenue. 
Gilbert A\'oodruff was president of the company ; 
Charles H. Keith, secretary and treasurer, and A, 
C. Johnson, superintendent. Mr. Keith died in 
December, 1877, and was succeeded as secretary 
by Lvon P. Ross. He invented the Ross folding 

bed, Ross perfection desk and the Ross combina- 
tion wash-stand, wdiich proved good sellers. His 
close attention to business affairs weakened his 
nervous system and hastened his death. While 
attending a national convention of furniture man- 
ufacturers in Grand Radips, February 16, 1889, 
he was taken suddenly ill, and in one week from 
that time passed away. Mr. Ross w-as succeeded 
by R. W. Emerson. W. F. Woodruff" succeeded 
his father, Gilbert Woodruff', as president ; V. D. 
Woodruff is vice-president ; C. A. Clark, secre- 
tary and treasurer. J. P. Anderson died a short 
time ago in Beatrice, Nebraska. 

The success of the Forest City quickened the 
ambition of other practical men. The Union Fur- 
niture company was organized in 1876. The pro- 
moters were Jonas Peters, John Erlander, John 
Pehrson and James Sundquist. P. A. Peterson, 
who was then about to graduate from a local busi- 
ness college, was chosen secretary. This was the 
beginning of the business career of one of the 
most remarkable men who ever resided in this 
city, and who is to-day the great organizing genius 
of the furniture industry in Rockford. The 
Union factory was situated where the Emerson 
company's blacksmith shop now stands. In 1889 
this building was destroyed bv fire. A new plant 
was erected on Eighteenth avenue. 

The Central Furniture company was organized 
in January, 1879. The promoters were S. A. 
Johnson. L. M. Noling, August Peterson, August 
P. Floberg, A. G. Johnson, Peter Parson, H. F. 
Peterson, A. N. Noling. J. R. Anderson, P. J. 
Friberg and Samuel Lundin. The original capi- 
tal stock w-as $22,500. The company purchased 
the stone structure on the water-power owned by 
Upson & Herrick. 

The Rockford Co-Operative Furniture com- 
pany was organized in July, 1880. Its original 
capital stock was $25,000, divided into shares of 
$100 each. The company was prosperous until the 
great financial depression of 1893, and for some 
years thereafter the plant was practically closed. 
Qiarles J. Lundberg subsequently purchased the 
interest of the company, and again placed it on a 
money-making basis. 

The Rockford Chair and Furniture company 
was organized in 1880. Its officers are: C. A. 
Newman, president : Andrew Shelgren, vice-presi- 
dent : Robert C. Lind, secretary and treasurer. 
The company really operates two establishments, 
known as plant A and plant B. These are sepa- 
rated by a distance of about two miles. The floor 
space occupied by plant A is about 125.000 square 
feet. Plant B has a floor area of 150,000 square 
feet. The firm does an annual business of half a 
million dollars, and its territory includes the en- 
tire United States, Canada and Mexico. 

The Mechanics' Furniture company was organ- 
ized in 1890. L. M. Noling is president; Emil 
Engberg, vice-president ; A. P. Floberg, treas- 

1 lO 


urer ; J. August Johnson, secretary. The com- 
pany's plant covers two acres of ground, at the 
corner of Seminary and Keith streets. The for- 
eign trade takes a fair jiroportion of its annual 
output. Tlic sales reach about S180.000 annually. 

The Standard Furniture company was organ- 
ized in 1887. The officers are: P. .\. Peterson, 
president; F. E. Lundgren. vice-jjresident ; J. E. 
Swanson, secretary and treasurer, and (Jscar 
Warner, superintendent. The plant has a floor 
space of over ioo,ocx:> square feet. 

The West End Furniture company was organ- 
ized July 7, i8t>o. with a cajiital stock of $50,000. 
C. R. Slower is jiresident ; (^scar Day. vice-presi- 
dent; J. H. Eynn, secretary and treasurer. Mr. 
Lynn is also manager, and gives his entire at- 
tention to the supervision of the plant. The an- 
nual output is about $225,000. The line of man- 
ufacture includes both medium and fine grades of 
desks, buffets, bookcases, folding beds and tables. 

The Rockford Mantel company was organized 
in i(p2. P. .\. Peterson is president : (). I>. Huey, 
vice-president ; C. .\. Hult, secretary and treas- 
urer ; F. O. Lind, superintendent. The factory is 
a four-story brick building, with basement, and 
has a floor space of 57,000 square feet. The firm 
employs about one hundred operators, and manu- 
factures wood mantels and furniture of various 
designs. A market is found in the L'nited States, 
Mexico and Canada. 

Other furniture companies now doing business 
are : 

Rockford Palace Furniture company. 

Rockford Frame and Fixture company. 

East Rockford Mantel company. 

Royal Mantel company. 

.^kandia Furniture company. 

Rockford Desk company. 

These make a total of sixteen plants now in 
oi)eration in the city. 

Of this list the Skandia has the largest single 
plant, but the Rockford Giair and Furniture 
company, with its two separate plants, is probably 
able to put out more than any other one concern 
in the city. 

Several other factories have been built from 
time to time that are not now in operation. The 
Excelsior, Phoenix. Rockford Cabinet and Dia- 
mond were burned and never rebuilt. The Amer- 
ican Star and Palace Folding P.ed com])any failed 
and did not resume. The financial panic of i8<)3 
was a terrible disaster to the Rockford industry, 
but the larger number of them finally weathered 
the storm. 

In the sixteen factories now in operation, near- 
ly tour thousand men earn their daily bread. 
Xearly one-fourth of Rockford's great colony of 
workingmen find their cm])loyment within these 
sixteen plants. This fact gives to some extent 
an idea of the great value of the industry to the 

The payroll is .something enormous. From 
one million to one million five hundred thousand 
dollars is paid annually to these workmen, the 
amount depending largely u])on the extent of 
business during the season. 

To run these sixteen plants almut $3,275,000 of 
Rockford capital is utilized. Practically every 
cent of this amount was furnished by the humble 
workinginan, who, by his frugality and good busi- 
ness sense, has been enabled to lay by enough to 
purchase a few shares of stix-k, and at the pres- 
ent time he is enjoying the full benefits of his in- 

Xo out-of-town capitalist holds sway over this 
industry ; no trust has the reins to close or open 
the factories at its will ; but all is done by Rock- 
ford men, who have demonstrated that they can 
coi)c with the world when it comes to finding a 
market for the goods that they produce. 

Closely allied to the furniture business of the 
city are a number of concerns only organized 
within the past few years. 

There are the Xational Mirror Plate works, 
and the Rockford Glass P.ending works, both 
owned by men who are backing the furniture 
plants, and which concerns supjily much of the 
mirrors and glass used in them. The Rockford 
-\rt Glass company also bears a close relation to 
the furniture industry. 

The Union Furniture company was the first to 
organize on the co-o])eralive plan. The employes 
were urged to save their earnings and invest in 
the company. Other factories adopted this plan, 
but it was not altogether successful, and it has to 
a large extent been abandoned. The capital has 
become more centralized, but it has never passed 
from the control of the Rockford men. This vast 
industry is capitalized and operated almost en- 
tirely by Swedish-.Vmerican citizens. 


During the Civil Julm Wigell. father of O. 
J. Wigell. and Charles Marske conducted a melo- 
deon factory on East .State street in a frame build- 
ing across the allev from the Schmauss meat mar- 
ket. May 30, 1865, this building and contents 
were destroyed by fire. Mr. Wigell, however, 
resumed business, and from 1865 to 1871 he man- 
ufactured over 200 melodeons and reed instru- 
ments. Quite a number of these old instruments 
are still in the city, and three of the number are 
now owned by the son. Mr. Wigell also com- 
pleted two pianos to show that he could accom- 
plish this work. In 1871 Mr. Wigell completed 
a contract with \\'alter Trumbull for the erection 
of a i^iano factory. These plans were abandoned 
by the death of Mr. Wigell. which occurred in 
the autumn of 1871. 

Tn 1880 John Loven. residing on First avenue, 
opposite the Henry Freeman school, made two 
pianos, which he sold at large ])rices. 



In 1891 Peter Nelson came to Rockford from 
Qiicago and organized the Rockford Piano com- 
panv. Its plant was in what was then known as 
the Union Shoe company s iDuilding, now occu- 
pied bv the Union Dairy company. 1 he firm was 
short-lived, and failed in less than a year. 

In the autumn of 1 891 John Anderson, of Erie, 
Pennsylvania, came to Rockford and organized 
the Anderson Piano company, which occupied a 
part of the Cream City mirror plate building. The 
companv failed in 1892, and H, N. Starr was 
appointed assignee. He removed the finished in- 
struments to the Hale building, on Walnut street, 
where they were sold. The Anderson piano was 
subsequently manufactured at ^linneapolis. 

The Haddorft' Piano company was organized 
in IQOI by P. A. Peterson. It is capitalized at 
$500,000, and is entirely financed by Rockford 
citizens. The instrument is named in honor of 
C. A. Haddorfif, a native of Sweden. He is an 
expert in this line of business, and is now the 
general superintendent of the factory. The com- 
panv emplovs about 300 men, and the average 
dailv output is from fifteen to twenty instruments. 

In 1899 the Smith & Barnes Piano company, 
of Chicago, purchased the plant of the Illinois 
Chair company in the north end, which was after- 
ward sold to George K. Barnes, of Rockford, 
who established the Barnes & Son Piano com- 
panv in 1901, and manufactured pianos under that 
name until February, 1904, when he sold the plant 
to the Schumann Piano company, which removed 
its manufacturing interests to Rockford, retain- 
ing a Chicago office at the Republic building. The 
Schumann Piano company is incorporated for 
$300,000, and has a daily output of six pianos. 
Its officers are: W. N. Van Matre, president; 
C, S. Hockett, vice-president ; J. W. Van Matre. 
treasurer : C. S. ]\Iarsh, secretary, E. K. Barnes, 
mechanical superintendent. 

The Kurtz-Seeburg company is one of the late 
accessions to the manufacturers of Rockford. 
Fred K. Kurtz, a native of New York city, came 
to Rockford in 1903, and October 15th of that 
year he began the manufacture of piano actions 
in the Union Shoe company lauilding at Sixth 
street and Eleventh avenue. The business was 
small at first, but it steadily grew, until a stock 
companv was organized, with P. A. Peterson as 
president ; Fred K. Kurtz, vice-president and su- 
perintendent ; John Anderson, secretary and treas- 
urer. In April, 1905, the company purchased a 
plat of ground on Eighteenth avenue and erected 
a commodious factory. 

The latest local finn to contribute in any way 
to the manufacture of pianos is the Billings com- 
pany, on the water-power. This firm came to 
Rockford in 1905, and manufactures a metal 



As early as 1843 there was sorie discussion of 
the need of a college for the upper Rock River 
valley. A general convention of the churches of 
the northwest was held at Cleveland, Ohio, in 
June, 1844, at which education received much at- 
tention. It was decided that a college and a fe- 
male seminary should be founded in southern 
Wisconsin and northern Illinois, respectively, A 
resolution was adopted that the "exigencies of 
Wisconsin and northern Illinois require that those 
sections should unite in establishing a college and 
a female seminary of the highest order — one in 
Wisconsin, near to Illinois, and the other in Illi- 
nois, near to Wisconsin." The delegates, upon 
their return, called a convention at Beloit in Au- 
gust, 1844. Three subsequent conventions were 
held at Beloit, because it was believed from the 
first that the college should be located at that 
place. The resolution of the first convention, 
affirming the need of both college and seminary, 
was reaffirmed in these subsequent conventions, 
representing especially the Presbyterian and Con- 
gregational ministry and churches in all the re- 
gion. The union of these two churches in this 
movement may be attributed to the fact that each 
was weak as it stood alone, and only in union was 
there strength. At the fourth convention, held at 
Beloit in October, 1845, Beloit was selected as 
the seat of the college, and a board of triistees 
was elected, to whom was committed the devel- 
opment of both institutions. The first meeting of 
the trustees was held the same month. Upon the 
original board were Rev. Aratus Kent and Hon. 
Wait Talcott. The charter for Beloit College was 
approved by the governor of the territory of Wis- 
consin. February 2, 1846. Middle College, the 
first building, was begun in the autumn of that 

Then began the discussion of a site for the 
seminary. Rockford and Rockton were rivals. 
But Beloit had been selected for the college : and 
from the Puritanical point of view of those days, 
Rockton was considered not a desirable distance 
for a college for young ladies. Thus Rockford 
was given the preference. The Rockford Forum 
of October 29. 1845, published a call for a meet- 
ing at the Methodist church on Monday evening, 
November 3d, to consider the location of the 
seminary. This call was signed by thirty-four 
citizens, led by T. D. Robertson. At this meet- 
ing it was resolved to attempt to raise the sum 
prescribed bv the Beloit trustees as necessary, 
about $3,500. A committee was appointed to so- 
licit subscriptions, consisting of Jason Marsh, 
George Haskell, Willard Wheeler, Asa Crosby, 

1 1. 


Anson S. Miller, P. B. Johnson and Horace 
Foote. The Forum of Novemhcr 5. 1845, con- 
tains a full report of this meeting, also a lengthy 
editorial. Citizens pledged the required amount. 
The Forum of December 3d mentions, in a sketch 
of the city, that the trustees of Beloit College have 
located the seminary at Rockford. A charter was 
granted February 25, 1847, to the following gen- 
tlemen as incorporators : Aratus Kent. D. Clary, 
S. Peet, F. Bascom, C. Waterburv, S. D. Stevens. 
A. L. Chapin, R. M. Pearson. G. \V. Wilcox, A. 
Ra\niiond. C. M. Qoodsell, E. U. Potter. L. G. 
Fisher. Wait Talcott, Oiarles S. Hempstead and 
Samuel Hinman. These same gentlemen were 
the incorporators of Beloit College. The board of 
trustees was to consist of sixteen members, with 
power to increase the number to twenty-four. 
But disasters affecting the business interests of 
the village prevented the fulfillment of the pledges 
which had been made, and delayed the enterprise 
for a time ; but it was never abandoned. 

Meanwhile. June 11, 1849, Miss Anna P. Sill 
began a preparatory school, under the name of 
the Rockford Female Seminary. The recitations 
were held in the old courthouse building on Xorth 
First street. Miss Sill came to Rockford from 
the east, with the expectation that her school 
would develop into the seminary which had been 
planned by the trustees of Beloit. This prepara- 
tory school was not the seminary proper, but 
rather its forerunner, and entirely under local 
management. Miss .Sill was assisted by Misses 
Hannah and Eliza Richards. The number of 
pupils the first term was seventy, most of whom 
were under ten years of age. The opening of 
this school apparently gave an impetus to the 
consummation of the former plans for a semi- 
nary. The trustees were Rev. L. H. Loss. Jason 
Marsh. Anson S. Miller, C. A. Huntington. S. 
M. Church, Rev. J. C. Parks, Bela Shaw. T. D. 
Robertson, E. H. Potter. Dr. George Haskell, 
Asa Crosby. The academic year was divided into 
four tenns of eleven weeks each. 

In 1850 the citizens again made pledges ag- 
gregating more than five tliousand dollars, for 
buildings, and the ladies pledged one thousand 
dollars for the beautiful grounds. This original 
subscrij>tion list is still in existence, though eaten 
away in places. It was found among the papers 
of the late Charles H. .SpafFord. The word origi- 
nal is here used Ijecause the subscriptions of 1845- 
46 were apparently never redeemed. The list is 
probably the only one in existence. Thus by Sep- 
tember 18. 1850. the seminary proper was as- 
sured as a permanent institution of R(5ckford, for 
the higher education of young women. 

During the first two years of Miss Sill's resi- 
dence in Rockford she continued independently 
her preparatory school. But in 185 1 the school 
was formally recognized by the board of trustees 

of Beloit college as the preparatory department 
of Rockford female seminary, under the charter 
which they had already obtained. Full prepara- 
tory and collegiate courses of study were defined, 
and, upon examination, fifteen were admitted to 
the first collegiate class in September of that year. 
The year 1851 is thus regarded as the date of the 
founding of the seminary, according to the origi- 
nal design. The recitations were conducted in 
the old courthouse building already noted. The 
seminary had been granted full collegiate powers 
by its charter, but it was called a seminary, as 
was customary for such institutions at that time. 
Seven of this first class of 1851 graduated in 
1854. Only one. Mrs. William Lathrop, is now 
a resident of the city. The course then covered 
three years, and was later changed to four years. 

The present college grounds were purchased 
from Buell G. Wheeler. The land originally ex- 
tended to the river, but a portion was taken by 
the Giicago & Iowa railroad. The property was 
not condemned, as the trustees preferred to sell 
rather than enter into any controversy. The 
grounds never extended farther east or north. 
They were never enlarged, and were reduced only 
on the west. The deed to this property was also 
found among Mr. Spafford's jwpers, and appar- 
ently had never left his possession. The reason 
therefor may be explained. Mr. SpafFord was 
county recorder at the time ; he was also a trustee 
of the seminary and the treasurer of the board. 
The document would thus naturally remain in 
his possession. Tliis deed and the original sub- 
scri])tion list, previously noted, were presented 
to the college at the last commencement season 
by Mr. Spafford's family, and are now among 
its permanent records. The city of Rockford 
owes a debt of gratitude to three of its early citi- 
zens for the very existence of this institution. At 
a critical moment in the formative period. Charles 
H. .SpafFord. Eleazer H. Potter and Dr. Lucius 
Clark mortgaged their homes and raised several 
thousand dollars to insure the success of the sem- 
inar}-. This self-sacrifice bv these gentlemen, who 
had faith in the future of Rockford, and who ap- 
preciated the value of higher education, has never 
been properly recognized, for the apparent reason 
that their course has not been generally known. 

.\fter the purchase of the grounds Mr. Wheeler 
said they were sold for nnich less than their real 
value. Airs. Wheeler was deeply interested in the 
success of the seminary, and thus the property 
was obtained at a low price. Mr. SpaflFord also 
preserved a transcript of an itemized estimate of 
the cost of the first building, made by John Beat- 
tie. This document called for an outlay of seven 
thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven dollars 
and thirty-five cents. 

July 15, 1852, the corner-stone of the first 
building was laid by Rev. Aratus Kent, president 



of tlie board of trustees. He spoke from the 
words : "That our daughters may be as corner- 
stones, poHshed after the similitude of a palace." 

After the acceptance by the board of trustees 
of the financial pledges of the citizens of Rock- 
ford in 1850, it was deemed best that each insti- 
tution should manage its own affairs. A provi- 
sional local board appears to have been created at 
this time, and in 1S52 the seminary passed into 
the control of a separate board of trustees. The 
principle of co-operation, however, continued to 
prevail, and certain gentlemen were on the official 
boards of the college and the seminary. In the 
lapse of years this number gradually diminished. 
The first formal appointment to the permanent 
faculty of the seminary was made in July, 1852, 
when Miss Sill was elected principal. In July, 
1854, the collegiate course was divided into four 
departments : ]\Iental and moral philosophy, 
mathematics and natural science, history^ and Eng- 
lish literature, ancient languages. The depart- 
ment of mental and moral philosophy was as- 
signed to the principal. Aliss Mary \Miite was 
chosen teacher in mathematics and natural sci- 

In 1854 work was begun on Linden hall, the 
western wing. It received its name from the resi- 
dence of one of its New England friends. From 
this place and from New York the larger part of 
the fund was obtained for its construction. In 
the 50s Miss Sill raised a large sum of money 
among- her eastern friends, especially in Boston, 
for the seminary, apparently to raise a deficit. Up 
to September 8, 1854. Miss Sill had secured in 
subscriptions the sum of three thousand six hun- 
dred and fifty-nine dollars and sixty-seven cents. 
This fact appears from a financial statement made 
by Charles H. Spafford. According to the Rock- 
ford Democrat of August I, 1854. Mr. Milwain 
was the architect of Linden hall, and the plans 
and specifications called for an addition forty-one 
by sixty-four feet, and four stories. Linden hall 
was first separate from Middle hall, and then con- 
nected by a frame passageway. 

In 1866 a second addition. Chapel hall, w'ith its 
connecting corridors, was begun, and completed 
two years later. In 1871 Linden hall and Middle 
hall were connected by a corridor. 

Of the first collegiate class admitted in 185 1, 
seven were graduated in 1854, eight in 1855, six- 
teen in 1856. ten in 1857, eleven in 1858. ten in 
1859. eleven in i860, and nine in 1861, a total of 
eighty-two in eight years. There were then three 
departments — collegiate, normal and academic. 
During that time there were eighty-five others 
who entered the seminary, but did not complete 
the course. Forty-one were in the junior class 
in 1861. The whole number who shared in the 
instruction of the collegiate course during the 
first ten years was two hundred and six. One 
hundred and eightv-three had received instruc- 

tion in the normal course, and the whole number 
of pupils for a longer or shorter time connected 
with the institution, including the preparatory 
courses, from the beginning in 1849 to July, 1861, 
was fifteen hundred and thirty. During this time 
there was contributed to the seminary from all 
sources the sum of thirty-nine thousand two hun- 
dred and twenty-eight dollars. 

In the winter of 1886 Sill hall was completed. 
This building, erected at a cost of $15,000, with 
funds almost entirely provided by the citizens of 
Rockford, contains the gjinnasium on the second 
floor and the music rooms on the first floor. 

This completes the number of edifices erected 
during Miss Sill's lifetime. For the sake of clear- 
ness and completeness in this connection, it is to 
be noted that in the fall of 1892 Adams hall was 
opened. This is a fine, modern edifice, costing 
about $35,000. Of this sum Mr. J. L. Adams, of 
Chicago, contributed a large portion, and the re- 
mainder was chiefly given by the citizens of Rock- 
ford. It contains all the laboratories and a num- 
ber of large, well-lighted recitation rooms. The 
upper floor is occupied by the studio. 

In 1891 Memorial hall, a residence for stu- 
dents, was given as a memorial to Ralph Emer- 
son, Jr. This completes the list of structures used 
for the institution. 

Having become the first principal of the semi- 
nary in 1849, Miss Sill filled that position until 
the summer of 1884, when she resigned, but as 
principal emerita she retained her connection with 
the school, when she died under the roof that her 
own strength and devotion had reared. 

JMiss Sill was followed by ^liss Alartha Hillard 
(now Mrs. Martha Hillard MacLeish), who was 
principal of Rockford seminary from 1884 to 
1888. Her genial personality did much to increase 
the social power 01 the school, both at home and 
abroad, and the regret felt when her marriage 
caused her resignation was universal and very 

Miss Anna Gelston was the next in the suc- 
cession, 1888-1890; but her fragile health com- 
pelled her to relinquish the task in two years. 

Miss Sarah F. Anderson (now Mrs. Sarah An- 
derson Ainsworth) became acting principal in 
1890. and principal in 1 89 1, a position she con- 
tinued to occupy until 1896. Miss Anderson 
graduated from the normal department of the 
seminary in 1869, and for many years acted as 
financial secretary before she became principal, 
and her wise financial management forms one of 
the striking features of her administration. The 
whole body of alumnae knew her well, and were 
deeply attached to her. Through her efforts and 
those of Miss Jane Addams, who accompanied 
her in a trip abroad, an unusually fine collection 
of photographs was secured for the art depart- 

When Miss Anderson resigned to be married in 



1896, Miss Phebc T. Siitliff was made president 
of Rockford collejje, ami coiitiinied in that office 
until 1901. Miss Siitliff bent all her energies to- 
ward raising the standard of scholarship, and. as 
a result of her efforts, the whole tone of the insti- 
tution changed for the better in this reS])ect. 

For some time jirevious to Miss Sutliff's ad- 
ministration, the trustees had been working stead- 
ily to make Rockford a woman's college of the 
first rank. In 1882 a collegiate course of study 
was added to the seminary curriculum, and since 
then all students who have done the requisite 
amount of work have received the degree of A. i>. 
In June. t8<)I. the board of trustees clecideil to 
discontinue the seminary course, and in June. 
1892, the name of the institution was legally 
changed from Rockford semin;uy to Rockford 
college, in order that the title might represent the 
work done. The last seminary graduates belong 
to the class of 1895. Begining with the class of 
1896. all graduates have been college graduates. 
On Miss Sutliff's resignation in igoi. Miss 
Emily K. Reynolds was elected president. Un- 
fortunately. Miss Reynold's health broke down 
before she had scarcely begun her work, and she 
was obliged to leave Rockford after only two or 
three months of residence. Even during this 
short space of time, however, she made her influ- 
ence felt in establishing a system of self-govern- 
ment at the college and in helping to beautify the 
college home. On Miss Reynold's resignation, in 
1902. Miss Julia Gulliver was elected president, 
and she now holds that position. 

In 1903-4 there were 155 students and a facul- 
ty of twenty. The number of the faculty in pro- 
portion to the number of students is so unusually 
large that it will at once attract attention as guar- 
anteeing an amount of personal care for the indi- 
vidual students that is impossible, savi' un<ler just 
these conditions. The heads of the different de- 
partments arc all trained specialists, and in gen- 
eral the instructors have done advanced work 
above their college degrees. It may be added 
that the relation of genial and sympathetic com- 
panionship between the faculty and students is 
one of Rock ford's distinguished characteristics. 

All through its history Rockford college has 
been blessed in its trustees. Thev have been 
broad-minded men and women, who have counted 
not life itself dear unto them in their devoted la- 
Ixirs for the best interests of the institution. Pro- 
gressive, clear-sighterl. courageous, they have 
laid its foundation in heroic self-sacrifice; they 
have reared its walls in honor. The present board 
worthily represents a long line of illustrious pred- 
ecessors. Whatever can be contributed in the 
wav of money, time, professional knowledge, 
business sagacity and vital interest is given freely. 
The marked musical iire-cminence of the city 
also had its origin and ins])iration in tlie musical 

department of the college, notably during the 
years when Professor D. X. Hood had it in 
charge ( 1 858- 1 895 ) . 

The commencement of 1904 marked the fiftieth 
anniversary of the class of 1854. the first graduat- 
ing class. There were seven of them, and all 
were living, and all were present to celebrate the 
occasion. An almost uni^recedented event in the 
annals of any college this — that a graduating class 
should reach the half-century mark with its num- 
ber unbroken, and for all those connected with 
Rockford college the conunencement of 1904 will 
always be hallowed by the presence of these noble 
souls who had for man\- years fought the good 
fight and kept the faith. 

line uocKroKo fuicic rrMi.ic library. 

The Rockforil jjublic library is believed to be 
the first one established in the state, outside of 
Chicago, under the present library law. In May, 
1872. a petition was presented to the city council, 
signed bv jirominent citizens of Rockford. repre- 
senting all classes of its inhabitants. ])raying for 
the organization of a free public library and read- 
ing room. The council promptly passed an ordi- 
nance, which was approved June 17. 1872. It 
provided, however, that "no indebtedness or lia- 
l)ility shall be allowed, or contracted against the 
said city, or the "library fund' of said city, for 
anv of the contingent or running expenses of said 
librarv and reading room, until after the first dav 
of March. A. D. 1873." 

On the very day the library ordinance was ap- 
proved. Mayor Seymour G. Bronson appointed 
the following named gentlemen, the first hoard of 
directors of the public librarv: Melancthon 
Starr. Elias Cosper. S. C. \\' ithrow. D. S. Clark. 
Rev. F. P. Woodbury. Rev. H. C. Mahie. \. C. 
Thom])son. J. ( J. Knapji and Charles L. Wil- 
liams. The board was organized with the elec- 
tion of X. C. Thompson as president and Major 
Cosper as secretary. Of this original board only 
Mr. Withrow and Mr. Williams are now resi- 
dents of the city. Dr. Mabic resides in Bo.ston, 
and Dr. \\'oodbnrv has headquarters in \^cw 

tender the restrictions of the ordinance there 
were no iniblic funds available for the founding 
and maintenance of the library. Its immediate 
support nuist therefore come from individual sub- 
scrijitions. The board of directors issued a gen- 
eral invitation for a imblic reception to be held 
Tulv 30th. Its i)ur|)ose was to afford the directors 
an o])pf>rtunity to make a report of what had 
alreadv been done, and to consult with reference 
to future action. At that meeting it was resolved 
to raise by private subscription a fund of $5,000, 
to supplement the limited sum to be raised by the 
tax lew. which woulrl not be available for some 



time. Subscriptions exceeding $2,000 were made. 
Among the most liberal contributors were : 
Thomas D. Robertson, $500 ; Emerson & Tal- 
cott, $500 ; Melancthon Starr, $200 ; Elias Gos- 
per, $40 ; N. C. Thompson, $200 : Selden AL 
Church, $50 ; S. C. Withrow, $50 ; Wm. Lathrop, 

The outlook was not promising, but the citi- 
zens were determined to have a librar_v, and ac- 
cording to their faith, so it was given unto them. 
Dr. Woodbury and Melancthon Starr had been 
appointed a committee to prepare an address to 
the citizens. It is no disparagement of the work 
of others to say that the most zealous supporter 
of the project was the late Major Elias Cosper. 
He solicited funds and books, and many of the 
valuable works of reference in the early library 
came from his private collection. Major Cospe'" 
earned the distinction of "Father of the library," 
a title given hmi by the late W. L. Rowland. 
Alajor Cosper served on the board twenty years. 
The official records of June 27, 1892, show a reso- 
lution of thanks, introduced by A. D. Farlv. for 
his long and distinguished service. 

Three rooms were leased on the second floor of 
the \\^allach block, which stood on the site of the 
present Ashton block. The annual rental was 
$350. July 30 Miss Mary E. Rankin was en- 
gaged temporarily as librarian. The reading 
rooms were open to the public August i. 1872, 
with a goodly number of daih" and weekly news- 
papers, magazines and reviews. 

September 2d, Thomas M. Martin was ten- 
dered the appointment of permanent librarian. A 
few days later Mr. Martin reported that he could 
not accept the position, and September 17, 1872. 
the board engaged William L. Rowland to fill 
the place. 

On the first day of February, 1873, the library 
was open to the public for the issue of books for 
home use. The first catalogue of eighty-six pages 
was printed a few months later. 

Miss Frank I. Edson entered the library as an 
assistant in March, 1873. In September follow- 
ing she was succeeded by Miss Elizabeth J. Wil- 
liamson, who remained eighteen years, until the 
autumn of 1891. Aliss Nellie Rose was then ap- 
pointed assistant librarian, and served several 

The first annual report of the board of direct- 
ors, made June I, 1873, showed that $1,773.11 
had been received on private subscriptions up to 
that date, with $2,160.50 still unpaid: making a 
total of $3,933.61. There were on that date 
2,815 volumes in the library. Of this number 
1,603 were donations. There were ninety-one 
periodicals in the reading room. 

The lil)rarian"s report showed that for the first 
four months, ending May 31, 1,252 cards had 
been issued to borrowers. The total circulation 
for the same period was 8,777. 

The first tax levy for library purposes was ap- 
proved September 16, 1872, and was fixed at one 
mill on the dollar, which was the statutory 
maximum. This tax yielded a library fund of 
only $2,164, a sum quite inadequate to the needs 
of the institution. The second tax levy, approved 
November 3, 1873, was only three-tenths of a 
mill on the dollar. The modest sum of $2,849.79 
was realized. The lew for 1874 was $3,500 ; and 
for 1875, $3,411.33. 

The library remained in the Wallach block until 
June, 1876, when the books were removed to a 
part of the second floor of the block just com- 
pleted by Church, Robertson & Emerson. This 
lilock is now occupied in part by the Register- 
( iazette company. The rental was $500 per 

In 1890 it was decided that it would be wise 
to open the reading room three hours Sunday 
afternoon, for the accommodation of those who 
were without homes, or who were unable to visit 
the library during the week. The first response 
was not very general, but time has vindicated the 
wisdom of such action. 

In 1892 Mayor Starr made an innovation by 
the appointment of three ladies on the board of 
directors. These were Mrs. Marie T. Perry, Mrs. 
Clara G. Sanford, and Miss Sarah Anderson, 
then president of Rockford College. 

For twenty-seven years the library remained in 
these quarters. Its growth and educational im- 
portance kept pace with the rapid advance of the 
city in population and commercial importance. 
In 1896 the library board leased the entire second 
story of the building, which nearly doubled the 
floor area. 

The card catalogue for public use was placed 
in the delivery room in September, 1897. In it 
were entered all books received since the publi- 
cation of the printed supplement to the catalogue 
in 1894. This was superseded in 1902 by a com- 
plete directory catalogue of the entire contents of 
the librarv. 

During the autumn of 1898 the library board 
voted to spend a portion of the annual appropri- 
ation in the purchase of books to be placed in 
certain schools of the city. The Rockford library 
was one of the first in Illinois to place libraries 
in the public schools. The inauguration of this 
plan of reaching the youth of the city came from 
an address by j\Irs. Marie T. Perry, then a mem- 
ber of the board of directors, before the Rockford 
Federation of W^omen's clubs. Mrs. Perry's ad- 
dress so well incorporated the salient features of 
the proposed work that from her ideas a resolu- 
tion was drafted and presented to the board by 
Henry S. Whipple. A committee was appointed 
composed of Airs. Perry, Librarian Rowland, H. 
S. Whipple and Prof. O. F. P)arbour, who were 
authorized to select a suitable list of books. 
January 5, 1899, libraries were placed in nine- 



teen school rooms, and himiary lylli four more 
schools were siipi)lied. The total circulation of 
these lx)oks for the four and one-half months 
of the fiscal year ending May 31, 1899, was 
9.808. The report of the librarian for the year 
ending May 31, 1903, showed that forty-four 
school libraries had been in use during the year, 
witii a total of 1.726 volumes, and a circulation 
of 25.398. On account of delay in placing the 
books in that year, occasioned by removal to the 
new Carnegie building, the circulation for 1903 
was only 16.929. 

Another effort to reach the youth of the city 
was the publication in June. 1899, of a catalogue 
of juvenile literature. Copies were distributed to 
the scholars in grades four to eight. They were 
also given to other children over ten years of age. 
This carefully .selected list largely increased the 
use of books by children. 

In August. 1900. by the death of Andrew M. 
Potter, of Philadelphia, a native of Rockford. and 
a veteran of the Seventy-fourth Illinois Infantry, 
the library was enriched by the accession of 446 
vt>lunies of history pertaining to the Civil war. 
The Rockford library now has one of the most 
complete collections of works in Illinois on the 
Civil war, outside of Chicago. 

.September 27. 1900, Mr. Rowland jiassed away 
after a brief illness. I-'or twenty-eight years he 
had been the efficient librarian and his death was 
mourned as a great loss to the i)ublic. 

In January. 1901. the board of directors ad- 
vanced Miss Jane P. Hubbell to the position of 
librarian. She had been first assistant for several 

One of the notable events of the years 1901-02 
was the reorganization of the library according 
to more modern methods. September 16. 1901. 
Miss Mary E. Gale, an experienced cataloguer, 
Ijcgan the work of reclassifying and cataloguing 
the books, according to the decimal classification. 
Miss Gale completed her work in November, 
1902, after fourteen months of the most exacting 

For many years the friends of the public 
library recognized that a commodious, fire-proof 
building was an urgent necessity. The city, how- 
ever, could not build it, for it had been for many 
years up to the statutory limit of its lx)nded in- 
debtedness. When it became known that Mr. 
Andrew Carnegie proposed to distribute a por- 
tion of his wealth in public library buildings, an 
effort was made to enlist his interest in Rock- 
ford. Correspondence Ix-gan in 1899. In March. 
1901. Mr. Carnegie made a gift of $60,000. The 
text of his letter is given in full : 

"March 6, 1901. 
"O. F. Barbour, Ksq., Rockford, 111. 

"Dear Sir: If the city of Rockford will 
furnish a suitable site and agree to maintain the 

library at a cost of not less than $8,000 a year, 
Mr. Carnegie will be glad to give $60,000 for a 
free library building. 

"Respectfully yours, 
"James P. Bertram, Secretary.'' 

The prolonged controversy over a site is 
familiar recent history, and no further mention 
need be made of it. A desirable site was finally 
selected. The ])roperty was owned by the Rock- 
ford Gas Light and Coke company, and was 
valued at $1 1,000, of which a gift of $2,000 was 
made by the company. The balance was paid by 
citizens. The plans submitted by Bradley & Car- 
IH'ntcr were approved, and the contract for the 
structure was made with W. H. Cook. 

In the spring of 1903, when funds were greatly 
reduced. .Mayor .Amasa Ilutchius asked Mr. 
Carnegie for an addition to his gift, and he 
I)romptly received $10,000. .\ portion of this 
sum was expended in the completion of the build- 
ing, and the balance was used in the furnishings. 
The work of beautifying the grounds was in 
charge of Hon. Robert H. Tinker. 

The comi)leted Carnegie library building was 
opened to the public November 21. 1903. The 
total value of the property, including building, 
furnishings and grounds, is conser\-ativcly placed 
at $90,000. This does not include the books nor 
the museum. The opening of the new library im- 
mediately resulted in an increase of twenty-five 
])cr cent, in circulation. 

In 1895 the library was made a depository for 
government publications. .\ large room has been 
set ajjart for them, and when the work of cata- 
loguing is complete, they will be official sources 
of information of great value. 

One of the most interesting features of the 
library is the children's room in the basement, in 
charge of Miss Mabel Snyder. During a busy 
season of the year nearly one hundred little ones 
have been seen there at one time. 

In 1904 the Misses Anna and Mary Beattie 
and brothers Edward W. and Geo. D., presented 
to the city of Rockford a rare museum of natural 
history. conservativel\ valued at $9,000. The 
collection was the life-work of Dr. Velie, and he 
personally supervised its installation. The gift 
is a memorial to the parents of the donors of the 
gift, Mr. and Mrs. John Beattie, early residents 
and highly esteemed citizens of Rockford. 

The city authorities referred the acceptance of 
the gift to the library board, who gave it a place 
on the second floor of the Carnegie building. 

In January. iiX)4. the city council made an ap- 
propriation of $2,000 for the purpose of es- 
tablishing a branch library on Seventh street. The 
furniture was generously furnished by the fac- 
tories in which P. .\. Peterson has large interests. 
The library, in charge of Miss Blanche Oaks, 
was opened in June, with about 2,000 volumes. 



Tlie following- is a complete roster of directors 
from the beginning: Melancthon Starr, Elias 
Cosper, S. C. Withrow, Dr. D. S. Clark, Rev. F. 
P. Woodbury, Rev. H. C. Mabie, X. C. Thomp- 
son, J. G. Knapp, Charles L. Williams, Dr. A. L. 
McArthiir, Dr. A. E. Goodwin, R. F. Crawford, 
W. A. Talcott, H. P. Holland, I Herva Jones, 
Prof. O. F. Barbour, Rev. Wilder Smith, Dr. R. 
P. Lane, Geo. S. Haskell, Rev. T. J. Butler, D. S. 
Doig, John H. Sherratt, Prof. M". S. Bebb, W. 
W. Bennett, James Lamont, Rev. J. J. Flahert)', 
Hon. E. H. Baker, Hon. Seely Perry, August 
Lind, Mrs. Marie T. Perry, Mrs. Clara Goodall 
Sanford, Miss Sarah Anderson, Hon. C. A. 
Works, P. O. N. Wall, ]Mrs. Harriott Wight 
Sherratt, Robert Rew, A. D. Earlv, H. S. Whip- 
ple, J. V. Riley, A. P. Floberg, C. L. Miller, Fred 
Haines, A. G. Larson, J. E. Goembel, T. E. Swan- 
son, J. L. Clark, J. A. Alden, W. A.'Brolin. Of 
this number Prof. Barbour is the senior member, 
in length of service. He was first appointed in 
1876 by Mayor Levi Rhoades, to succeed H. P. 
Holland, resigned. With the exception of a brief 
interim in 1878, during the administration of 
Mayor Watson, he has served twenty-nine years. 

The present library staff is as follows : Jane P. 
Hubbell, librarian; Mrs. Anna C. Vincent, as- 
sistant librarian ; assistants, Eliza A. Kave, Mary 
E. Lowry, Lelia P. King, Mabel L. Snyder: 
evening assistant, Charles A. Church : Saturday 
assistant, Katherine E. Dickerman : substitute, 
Edith 1\L Hess. In continuous service Mr. 
Church out-ranks any other person on the present 
library staff, having served eighteen years. 

^liss Blanche Oaks is librarian of the Seventh 
street branch, with Miss Alma Freeberg as as- 

May 31, 1Q05, the number of volumes in the 
main library was 41,320, and 2,063 volumes in 
the branch. The total circulation for home use 
for the fiscal year ending on that date, at the 
main library, was 86,946 ; circulation at the branch, 
18,360: school libraries. 13,828: reference works 
in main library, 15,403: total circulation of main 
library and branch, 134,537. 

In .\pril, 1905, the tenth annual meeting of the 
Illinois Librarv association was held in Rock- 


The first school in Winnebago county was 
taught by Miss Eunice Brown, who afterward 
became Mrs. J. G. Lyon. This school was on the 
site of no South Second street, in the rear of 
what is known as the John Earlv residence, and 
taught in a log house. This was about July, 1837. 
In the spring of 1838 Miss Brown taught on the 
west side, in a building on what is now the court 
house square. Mrs. Lvon died at her home in 
Rockton, December 7, i\ 

In 1837 Miss Frances Bradford taught school 
in a log cabin which belonged to William E. 
Dunbar. In 1869 the late Mrs. John H. Thurs- 
ton prepared a list of early Rockford schools and 
teachers, which, with some amplification, is sub- 
stantially reproduced. Israel Morrill and Miss 
.Sarah E. Danforth taught in 1838 on the west 
side ; Miss Wood in 1839, on the west side : James 
M. Wight, in the winter of 1838-39, in the build- 
ing on the corner of Madison and Market streets, 
on the site of the American house ; Miss Hyde, 
in 1839, in the same place; Andrus Corbin, in 
1839, in a house owned by himself on the west 
side; Mr. Jackson, in the winter of 1839-40, in 
the house on the corner of Madison and Market 
streets ; Miss Hepsabeth Hutchinson and Miss 
Maria Baker, in 1840, on the east side; Mrs. Mary 
Jackson, in 1838-39, on the west side; Miss 
Wealthy Bradford, in 1841-42, on the west side; 
Lewis S. Sweezy, in 1841-42, in the brick school 
house on the southeast corner of the public 
square, east side; Miss Harriet Barnum, in 1841, 
in a private house, east side ; Miss Minerva C. 
Fletcher, in 1842, in a log- house that stood op- 
posite the First Congregational church, east side ; 
Elijah Holt, in 1841-42, in the brick schoolhouse, 
east side; John Paul, in 1841, in the first house 
south of the railroad. Main street, west side ; 
Lewis B. Gregory, in the brick schoolhouse, east 
side, 1843-44 ; Miss Fronia Foote and George 
Waterman, in 1843-44; Miss Julia Barnum, in 
1844, in private house, east side ; Miss Adeline 
Warren, private house, east side ; Miss Augusta 
Kemfield in 1845, ^^^^ side; C. A. Huntington, 
1845 to 1849, in the old courthouse on North 
First street, and on the west side ; Miss Elizabeth 
Weldon was assistant to Mr. Huntington ; H. H. 
Waldo, in 1848, in Baptist church, west side; D. 
W. Ticknor, from 1846 to 1849, in the brick 
schoolhouse, east side ; assisted in turn by Miss 
Elizabeth Weldon, Anson Barnum, John W. 
Andrews, and D. Dubois ; H. H. Waldo, in 1849- 
50, Miss Hannah Morrill. 1848, east side ; Robert 
A. Sanford, 1848, west side. 

In 1850 Mr. Bowles taught in the brick school- 
house on the east side; Mrs. Squires, in 1850, on 
what is now in South Madison street, east side, 
and afterward on west side ; Mrs. King H. Mil- 
liken, in 1850, east side ; Miss Mary Dow, Miss 
Delia Hyde and George E. Kimball, 1850-53, in 
the basement of the present First Baptist church 
building, west side ; Miss Sarah A. Stewart and 
Aliss Mary Joslin, in 1850, in a building where 
the Masonic temple now stands ; Seely Perry, in 
the basement of the First Methodist church, on 
Second street ; B. Rush Catlin, in 1852, in base- 
ment of First Methodist church ; Misses Char- 
lotte and Harriet Leonard, in 1851-52; Miss 
Stowell and T. J. L. Remington, in 185 1, in the 
lirick schoolhouse, west side ; Rev. C. Reighley, 



in 1852. on the cast side; Miss Fanny Avery, in 

1852. on tlie east side: Mr. Stevens, in 1833, in 
tiie brick schoolhousc. east side; Miss Lizzie 
Fern, in 1853, on the cast side; .Mrs. Carpenter, in 

1853. west 'side; Rev. L. Porter, 1852; Mr. 
Stowell. in 1853; Rev. .\ddison P>ro\vn and Miss 
Frances .\. I'.rown on the west side; Miss I'lia 
Galloway, in 1854. in the lobby of the First Con- 
STcsational church, east side ; Darwin Dubois, in 

1854. in the First Methodist church; Mrs. Julia 
and .Miss Chapman, in 1854, on the west side; 
Miss l!elle l!uri)cc and Miss Ethalinda Thomp- 
son, in 1855. on the east side; Hal.sey C. Clark, 
in 1855, in old courthouse, east side, with Miss 
Lizzie 'Ciffen as assistant ; Miss Emma Brown, 
in 1857, east side; \. W. Freeman, in the base- 
ment of First Baptist church, west side : Wesley 
Sovcrei.qrn. in First Methodist church, cast side; 
Mrs. Jiines. on west side; Miss Elizabeth I'isher, 
west side; Miss Gunsolus, east side; Mr. Johnson 
and Mr. Clifford, west side. 

.Xearly all these schools were private. The 
teachers were paid mainly by the parents. The 
teacher made out his own bills and collected them. 
There was then no resfnlar state or local ta.x, 
and the only ])ublic school money was derived 
from the interest on the several state school funds, 
and the township fund obtained from the sale of 
the sixteenth section. Private teachers, who con- 
formed to certain requirements of the law, re- 
ceived some comi)cnsation from tlie jniblic money, 
in |)roportion to the number of jnipils under their 

The earlv public school records of Rockford 
township have been lost. It is therefore im- 
possible to obtain exact information. There ap- 
pears, however, to have been a school district, with 
a schoolhouse, on each side of the river. The 
cast side public school was in the brick building 
on the southeast corner of the public s(|uare. This 
schoolhouse was erected at an early date, by 
private subscription. L. P>. Gregory taught there 
soon after his arrival in Rockford. His examina- 
tion for certificate was c|uite brief, and was held 
in E. H. Potter's store. The directors were E. 
H. Potter, William E. Dunbar, Willard Wheeler 
and Dr. A. M. Catlin. Mr. Gregory was asked 
to spell baker. ITe rei)lied that he could not; 
but the certificate was granted. 

In the classical institute, in the basement of 
the First I'.a|)tist church, from 1855 to 1856, of 
which H. P. Kimball was principal, one class 
pursued the regidar studies of the freshman year 
in college, and entered one year in advance. .-\ 
score of students left this institution and entered 
eastern colleges. Two years' study was con- 
sidered sufficient to advance scholars through a 
full ])reparatory course of mathematics and the 
usual bofjks in Latin and Greek, giving them a 
sufficient preparation. 

Seely Perry taught a preparatory school for 
young men about a year and a half, in the First 
.Methodist church. .\t this school quite a num- 
ber of students prepared for college. .Vmong 
these were the late Dr. Selwyn Clark ; .\lexander 
Kerr, who became professor of Greek in the 
Cniversity of Wisconsin ; Rev. John Edwards, 
brother of Mrs. Clemens. On account of ill health, 
Mr. Perrv turned over the school to a brother of 
Dr. E. P.' Catlin. 

ISesides the houses used for schools on the east 
side already noted, were : one on Kishwaukee 
street, near bridge ; one on lot in rear of engine 
house on South First street ; one on South .Madi- 
son street. Xot less than eight buildings were 
used for school puqDOses on the cast side. .\ sum 
of money was once raised to build a second 
public school house on the east side ; but it was 
never erected. The money was finally paid into 
the nninicipal treasury, upon the order of the city 

John .\. Holland and others built a school 
house for private pupils on South West street. 
It w^as occupied exclusively by the children of 
those who erected it. It was therefore not a 
large school, but somewhat exclusive. The con- 
tract was made with Seely Perry for furnishing 
building material. 

.\n old schoolhouse stood on South Main 
street, and later used as a blacksmith shop, near 
Mrs. Brett's block. The Second Congregational 
church was organized in this building. There 
was also a small schoolhouse on the south side 
of Green street, between Church and Court. It 
was a white frame building, .\bbie Parker, a 
sister of the late G. W. Parker, tau.ghl there at 
one time. 

IKi:i-: ITltLIC SCHOOL svsrii.M. 

The development of the public school system 
is an excellent illustration of the growth of ]>a- 
tcrnalism ; first, on the part of the general govern- 
ment ; and second, in the gradual advance of the 
state toward the present standard. 

The free jjublic school system of Illinois dates 
from 1855. In December. 1853. a large common 
school convention met at Jerscyville. composed of 
delegates from many adjoining counties, and one 
at Bloomington, for the whole state. These 
movements ])ro<luced results. The general as- 
sembly, which met the following February, sepa- 
rated the office of state su|ierintendent of public 
instruction from that of secretary of state, and 
made it a distinct department of the state gov- 
ernment. The state superintendent was required 
to draft a bill emlnxlying a system of free edu- 
cation for all the children of the state, and report 
to the next general assembly. March 15. 1854, 
Governor Slattcson appointed Hon. Xinian 




Edwards as state superintendent. In the fol- 
lowino; January Mr. Edwards presented a bill 
which became a law February 15. 1855. Fo'' 
state purposes the school tax was fixed at two 
mills on the one hundred dollars. To this was 
added the interest from the permanent school 
fund. A free school was required to be main- 
tained for at least six months in each year, and it 
was made imperative upon the directors of every 
school district to levy the necessary tax. Thus 
the free school system of Illinois began when the 
taxing;' power of the state was invoked in its 

The school law was bitterly opposed, and nar- 
rowlv escaped repeal. Sir William Berkeley, the 
royal governor of \'irginia, said in 1670: "T 
thank God there are no free schools nor printing 
presses in Mrginia and I hope we shall not have 
these hundred years." The spirit of this pious 
wish prevailed in southern Illinois : and there was 
a repetition of the old conflict between the two 
distinct classes of people in the two portions of 
the state. The southern portion was poor, while 
the northern portion was well-to-do ; and it was 
only as it was made to appear to the southern 
part that it was receiving more from the state 
school fund than it was contributing, that the 
people acquiesced in the law. 

The charter of 1854 had conferred upon the 
city council of Rockford full power over its 
schools. Ji'iie 20, 1855, the council passed its 
first school ordinance under the new school law. 
The city was divided into school districts ; East 
side, number one ; West side, number two. A 
board of school inspectors was appointed, con- 
sisting of George Haskell, A. S. JNIiller and Jason 
Marsh. In December the board voted to pur- 
chase of A. W. Freeman his lease of the base- 
ment of the First Baptist church for a school in 
district number two. IMr. Freeman was em- 
ployed to teach at $800 per year. .\t the same 
time Henry Sabin was engaged for the First 
district, and the old courthouse on the east 
side was leased. Mr. Sabin is a brother of 
Charles Sabin, of X'^orth Giurch street. He is a 
graduate of Amherst College, and has made a 
record for distinguished service. He has been 
superintendent of schools at Clinton, Iowa, and 
has served several terms as state superintendent 
of that state. He now lives at Des Moines. 

The council had provided by ordinance for a 
school agent for each district, whose acts were to 
be approved by the council. July 27, 1855, the 
agent for the First district was authorized to 
purchase from Solomon Wheeler, the tract on 
which the Henry Freeman school now stands. 
September loth a contract was made for the con- 
struction of the building. April 28, 1856, a con- 
tract was made for a schoolhouse in the Second 
district, on the site of the Lincoln school ; the 


were E. X. House. M. H. Regan 
and James B. Howell. The progress of the build- 
mgs was delayed by unfavorable weather, and the 
late arrival of school furniture. 

August 14, 1857, in the afternoon and evenino- 
occnrred the formal dedication of the two uniOT 
school buildings. Previous to this time Rock- 
ford as a city had no schoolhouse of its own. 

The First district school had three principals 
from 1857 to 1884. The first was Orlando C. 
Blackmer. who was appointed March 10, i8s7 
His assistant was S. F. Penfield. iMr. Blackmer 
remamed but a short time, when he began the 
iniblication of school records in Chicago. Mr. 
Blackmer is a brother of Mrs. X. C. Thompson.' 
He is now living at Oak Park. 

Prof. Henry Freeman, Mr. Blackmer's suc- 
cessor, was a native of Massachusetts, born within 
twenty miles of Plymouth Rock. He was gradu- 
ated from Teacher's Seminarv. Andover," Mas- 
sachusetts, in 1839, and taught for one vear in 
the preparatory department. " Prof. Freeman be- 
gan his life-work as principal of the high school 
at Bridgeton, Xew York, in 1840. In" 1845 he 
was offered the principalship of Salem academv, 
at Salem, X^'ew Jersey, where he remained five 
>ears until he was elected principal of \\'allkill 
Academy, at Middleton, Xew York. In 1855 he 
was called to the position of principal of the high 
school and superintendent of schools at Freepo'rt. 
Illinois. In 1859 the board of school inspectors in- 
vited Prof. Freeman to take the position of prin- 
cipal and superintendent of schools of East Rock- 
ford at a salary of one thousand dollars a vear. 
This position he filled twenty-one vears. imtil he 
resigned in 1880. During tliis long service hun- 
dreds of pupils came under the influence of the 
principal. Prof. Preeman had high ideals of life, 
and his strong character was a potent factor in 
promoting that which was for the best interest 
of the pupils. His conscientious efforts were 
appreciated, and occasionally his former pupils 
gathered informally at his' home and recalled 
reminiscences of those formative vears. 

The third and last principal was Prof. .\. W. 
McPherson, who remained until 1884. 

George G. Lyon was chosen principal of the 
Second school district March 10, 1857. April 
22, 1904, the old pupils of Prof. Lyon had the 
pleasure of honoring his memory bv planting the 
Lyon elm on the Lincoln school grounds. 

Prof. Lyon was succeeded bv E. M. Fernal, 
E. X. sillier. James H. Blodgett and W. W. 
Stetson. Prof. Blodgett became principal of the 
^^'est side school in September, 1865, and held this 
position fifteen years. He had served his country 
in the Civil war as captain of Companv E, 
Seventy-fifth Illinois \'olunteer Infantrv. Prof. 
Blodgett has for many years been an official in 
the interior department at Washington. 



Prof. W. W. Stetson, the last principal of the 
West side high school before the consolidation, 
is now state superintendent of Maine. 

By 1857 a small frame strncture had been 
erected in South Rock ford as a schoolhouse. 
This was soon enlargfed and was later superseded 
by a stone structure, now known as Kent school. 
Thomas Sherratt and a Mr. Munson were early 
principals. Mr. Sweet, another early principal, 
went to California and there died. 

Prof. O. F. Barbour succeeded Mr. Sweet in 
September. 1866, and has retained this position 
thirtv-nine consecutive years. Prof. Barbour's 
continuous service in the same school is without 
a parallel in the state of lUinnis. "To his in- 
spiration."' says Prof. James II. Blodgett. "is 
largely due the unusual prominence of boys 
among the graduates of the West high school. 
At a time when girl graduates monopolized the 
diplomas in many schools, one-third of the gradu- 
ates of \\'est Rockford high school were boys, 
and occasionally a graduating class had more 
boys than .girls, and .^outh Rockford furnished a 
conspicuous share." 

October 21. i86i. the number of school in- 
spectors was increased from three to five. 

In 1884 the public school sy.stem was thor- 
oughly reorganized, and the city was made one 
school district, with one high school, in ])ursu- 
ance of an ordinance drawn Ijy Hon. .\lfrcd Tag- 
gart. Prof. P. R. Walker was made general 
superintendent of all the city schools, and he has 
held this position twenty-one years. Prof. Walker 
did service during the Civil war with the Xinety- 
second Illinois \'oluntcers. He graduated from 
tlie Illinois State Xormal School and was for 
many years a teacher. Pie came to Rockford from 

.\ central high school was created. Temporary 
(|uarters were secured in the second story of a 
building on West State street. The first prin- 
ciiial was Prof. A. W. McPherson, who served 
one year. The second principal was Prof. 
Charles A. Smith, a graduate of .\inhcrst. The 
present high school Iniilding was erected in 1885, 
and an addition was completed in 1900. Prof. 
Smith was succeeded by Walter A. Edwards, a 
son of Prof. Edwards, at one time superintendent 
of public instruction of Illinois. Mr. Edwards 
resigned in 1805. and was succeeded by Prof. B. 
D. I'arker. who remained nine years. The jircs- 
ent i)rinci|)al is Ellis U. Graff, who began his 
duties in Sei)teml)er. 1904. 

Previous to the reorganization of the Rockford 
schools in 1884. the schoolhouses were simply 
designated by the wards in which the}' were 
.severally located. Prof. Walker, as he became 
acquainted with the history of the city, advised 
the naming of the several schools, and. with three 
exceptions, they were named in honor of Rock- 
ford citizens. 

The West side high school, built in 1857. was 
called the Lincoln school, in honor of .\braham 
Lincoln. It was rebuilt in 1892 at a cost of 

The East Rockford high school, also built in 

1857, was named .Adams, in honor of President 
Jolm .\dams. In 1893 the old stone structure 
was razed to the ground and a two-story brick 
building erected, at a cost of $40,000. In 1904 
about $5,000 was expended in a steam heating 
plant and a system of fan-ventilation. This build- 
ing has been re-christened the Henry Freeman 
school, in honor of Prof. Freeman, who taught 
twenty-one years in the old East side high school. 

The South Rockford school building, erected in 

1858, was named the Kent, in honor of Ger- 
manicus Kent, the first settler of Rockford, who 
came here in 1834. 

The Hall .school, built in 1866, and rebuilt in 
1892. was named in honor of John Hall, an early 
member of the board of education. 

The Ellis school, built in 186S. hears the name 
of Col. E. F. ^^'. Ellis, an early banker of Rock- 
fcMil, who was killed in the battle of Shiloh in 
.\pril, 1S62. 

The Blake school, erected in an early day, and 
rebuilt in 1899, received its name from Thatcher 
Blake, who came to Rockford with Germanicus 
Kent, in 1S34. 

The Marsh school, built in 1872. bears the 
name of Col. Jason Marsh, a pioneer of 1839. 
and a representative lawyer and public-spirited 

The Xelson school, built in 1881. is named for 
John Xelson, the famous Rockford inventor of 
the knitting machine. The Hotel X'^elson also 
hears his name. 

The Haskell school was built in 1874. and 
perpetuates the memory of Dr. George Haskell, 
who came to Rockford in 1838. He has been 
immortalized by the poet Whittier in Snow- 

The Montague school was built in 1883. and 
enlarged in i8()2. It bears the name of Richard 
Montagut-. a pioneer of 1835. 

The Wight school, built in 1889, is named in 
honor of James AI. Wight, a prominent barri.ster, 
member of the constitutional convention of 1870, 
and a representative in the legislature. 

The Brown school, erected in 1892, derives its 
name from Judge William Brown, who held 
many offices of ])ublic trust and was for twenty 
years judge of the circuit court. 

The Garrison school, built in 1887. and en- 
largcfl in i8<)2, is named for Thomas Garrison, 
who came to Rockford from New Jersey in 1853, 
and purchased a large tract of land north of the 
city. Mr. Garrison died October 6, 1871. .\n 
addition has been made to the school building 
during the present year. 
The Cliurch school was built in 1894, and per- 



petuates the memory of Judge Seklen M. Church, 
an early settler, postmaster, member of the legis- 
lature, and judge of the county court. 

The Kishwaukee school was built in 1896. and 
derives its name from the street on which it 
stands, which, in turn, is derived from Kish- 
waukee river. Kishwaukee is an Indian name. 

The Turner school was built in 1898, and de- 
rives its name from J. M. Turner, a supervisor 
and alderman. Mr. Turner, in recognition of this 
honor, gave the school a bell. 

A site at the corner of Summit and Crosby 
streets, consisting of one-half of a block, was 
purchased in 1904, and a ten-room building 
erected. It is called the Jackson school, in honor 
of Charles E. Jackson, the present mayor. It is 
pleasing to know that the idea of more extensive 
school grounds has at last been adopted, and that 
this new building is heated by steam, and well 
ventilated with a fan to drive the pure, warm or 
cold air through the building. The plans pro- 
vide large rooms, well lighted, and large halls 
that are easily accessible, with stairs easy to 
ascend and descend. The light comes in at the 
left and rear of the pupils in each room. The site 
is on an elevation well drained and supplied with 
ample sewerage, a very important item in the 
location of a school building. 

With the completion of the Jackson school, the 
entire school property of Rockford, including 
buildings, grounds and furnishings is not less 
than half a million dollars. 

The following table indicates the cost of the 
completed buildings as they now stand : 

High School, 1885-1900 $ 92,145.97 

Lincoln, 1892 35,000.00 

Henry Freeman, 1893 45,000.00 

Hall, 1892 30,000.00 

Wight. 1889 20.000.00 

Brown, 1892 18,000.00 

Kent, 1858 20,000.00 

Montague, 1883-1892 20,700.00 

Garrison, 1887-1892 18,000.00 

Church, 1894 20.000.00 

Kishwaukee. 1896 30,000.00 

Nelson, 1881 4.000.00 

Marsh, 1872 5,000.00 

Blake, 1899 28.385.49 

Haskell, 1874 6,000.00 

Ellis, 1868 4,000.00 

Turner, 1898 25,588.74 

Jackson, 1904 35.000.00 

Total $456,820.20 

Tne following is the total enrollment of the 
citv schools bv vears, since 1884: 

1884 '. ^.^.-JJi 1894 4.723 

1885 2,818 1895 4.781 

1886 2,875 1896 4.945 

1887 2,950 1897 5,138 


• 3,206 

1898 5,193 

1899 5.645 

1900 5,877 

1901 6.01 1 

1902 6,116 

1903 6,251 

Opening day, September 5, 1904 5.627 

Enrollment for September, 1905 6.441 

The work of the Rockford high school is to 
a limited extent elective, and is based upon an 
election of subjects rather than of courses. The 
unit of the plan is a "credit," which means five 
hours of work per week for a period of thirty- 
nine weeks. Sixteen such credits are necessary 
for graduation, of which seven and a half are re- 
quired, and the remainder elective. The plan 
may be seen by reference to the course of study. 
Below is a report of the number in the enter- 
ing classes, and the number graduated since 1886: 



1890 32 

1891 37 

1892 28 

1893 49 

1894 52 

1895 48 

1896 67 

1897 88 

1898 58 

1899 55 

1900 68 

1901 48 

1902 ^6 

1903 64 

1904 77 

1905 87 

education consists of Dr. 

, E. D. Revnolds. L. M. 


















I9OI — 

The present board of 
Culhane, A. G. Everett, 
Xolina:. and JNIiss Pearl 









Seward township has the first consolidated 
school in Illinois. In the spring of 1903, on pe- 
tition to the school trustees. Districts 90, 91, 93, 
of Seward township, were consolidated. The 
electors of the consolidated district, bv a vote of 
thirty-eight for and fifteen against, bonded the 
district for $7,000, ten years' time at four per 
cent, to purchase a site and erect a union school 
building. By a vote of forty-seven for, and one 
against, the airectors were authorized to pur- 
chase a certain site for the new school grounds. 
This consists of three and six-tenths acres of some 
of the finest farming land in northern Illinois. 
The amount paid for it was $1,000. 

Prof. Blair, chief of horticulture of the Illinois 
College of Agriculture, designed the landscape 
arrangement of this ground. It provides for the 



tifiil fjroii|)in<js and massing of nunuTous 
varieties of shrubs anil llowcrs : a boys' athletic 
field ; a gfirls' athletic field ; little folks' play 
ground ; and experimental gardens for all the 
children. TJie new building was erected at a cost 
of about $6,000. The credit of this iimovation 
belongs to Superintendent (). J. Kern, who 
labored four years and a half to accomplish this 
result. This school promises to be the connecting 
link between the farm and the college of agri- 


The Winnebago County District School Travel- 
ing Libraries were organized in lyoi. The object 
was to supply valuable helps for school work 
and good literature in a way that would be pos- 
sible to reach every district school, every child 
and intlirectly every home in the county outside 
of the City of Rockford. This was the first at- 
tempt of its kind in Illinois. These traveling 
libraries are the property of the county, and are 
in charge of the county superintendent of schools. 

The money with which to inirchase the books 
was acquired in two ways. First, an appropria- 
tion by the county board of supervisors ; second, 
by the net jimceeds of annual township school ex- 

The districts over the county are grouped into 
circuits of six districts each, with two or three 
excejjtions. A box of books stays at a school one 
month and then is taken to another school in die 
circuit. The fractional township of Laona has 
exactly six school districts. The teachers of this 
circuit are over twenty miles from Rockford. Tlie 
traveling library is the only way to reach them, 
for the distance is too great for teachers to go to 
the county suj^erintendent's office and lake books 
to their schools. With the traveling libraries all 
schools are on an equal footing as far as oppor- 
tunity to lxx)ks is concerned. Three boxes of 
books are placed in each circuit, with the excep- 
tion of the graded school circuit of ten schools, 
which has five lx)xes. 

The library movement is helping to create a 
new educational ideal in Winnel)ago county. It 
is no small factor in the imjirovement of the 
teaching force. .And tiie library, if rightly used 
in the .school room, can not fail to strengthen the 
work of the puiiils. Pufiils and teacliers are 
brought into contact with good books during the 
year, .^lowly, but surely, the reading habit will 
be formed, the desire to rea<l gix)d books. This is 
of great importance to the boy or girl after school 
days are over. 


There has been a great increase in tlie local 
district school libraries during the past three years, 
total numIxT of admissions having Ijeen nearly 

These books are the property of the various dis- 
tricts, and are secured by socials. ])urchased by 
directors from school funds, etc. 


This innovation l)egan in 1901. These annual 
exercises are helpful in creating a new educational 
ideal with reference to the country school. It 
gives an opportunity for all the chililren and i)ar- 
eiits of a townshij) to get together in the interests 
of better .schools. .Xo attempt is made to create a 
great display. The aim has always been to have 
the children render the i)rogram of a simple edu- 
cational character, and thus keep alive a growing 
interest. If the children are interested, the par- 
ents will be. The county superintendent attends 
every one of them. Ten cents admission is 
charged, and the net proceeds go toward the trav- 
eling lilirary fund. 

Eighth grade certificates for admission to high 
school. ])upils' reading circle diplomas and teach- 
ers' professional attainment certificates are given 
at these union township exercises. .\ subject is 
selected each year by the county superintendent, 
which is the central theme of tlu' ])rogram. The 
aim is to make the program a unit all over the 
county, and thus make the exercises trul\' educa- 
tional and at the .same time entertaining. 

The subject for 1-901 was: The History of 
\\"innebago County: 1902. Louisiana Purchase 
Fx]3osition ; 1903, Out Door Art for Home and 


It has fallen to the lot of few Rockford insti- 
uuions to meet with such success in a comi)ara- 
tively short time as lo the Rockford Chautau(|ua. 
now known the breadth and width oi the Chau- 
tauqua world as one of the largest and most in- 
lluential in the entire country. 

The Rockford Chautau(|ua assembly was or- 
ganized in the year i()02. The promoters felt 
tliere was a need of such an institution in this 
city and Ixdieved that their efforts would be 
strongly aided by the Rockford public. 

.\ stock company of 100 shares was organ- 
ized with a ca])ital of S5.000. and the work was 
taken up with a will. The Rockford and Inter- 
urban Comjiany erected the handsome and cajja- 
cious auditorium at Harlem Park, seating 5,000 
people, and made otlur improvements u])on the 

The i<)02 assembly was a record-breaker for a 
first-vear gathering. .\ jirogram such as has not 
been arranged but for few gatherings Oi the sort 
sufficed to attract thousands and the reputation of 
the assembly was established. 

The .season of 1903 broke all records in point 
of attendance for short-term Chautauquas, the 
artistic arrangement of many kinds of trees : beau- 



These enormous figures were a stu"prise even 
to the management itself and other Chautauquas 
in the country saw they had a powerful rival in 
the point of popularity. These attendance figures 
have only been surpassed by the mother assembly 
at Jamestown, New York. 

The season of 1904 was as highly successful 
in every respect as that of the previous year, the 
attendance frgures being about the same. 

With a confidence born of this unprecedented 
attendance the management looks forward to the 
season of 1906 with hope, and does not hesitate 
to say that the program will be unquestionably the 
strongest ever presented by any assembly in the 

No expense has been spared in past years to 
gratify every desire of the public for pleasing, as 
well as educating, programs, and the Chautauqua 
association will continue on this same broad plan 
in the years to come. 

The officers of the association are : 

President — D. Lichty. 

\'ice President — George Stansbury. 

Secretary — Frank S. Regan. 

Treasurer — Miss Mary I. Beattie. 

Superintendent — A. C. Folsom. 

Directors — A. E. Elmore. J. B. Whitehead, 
August Peterson, H. S. Whipple, L. A. Williams, 
W.' W. Bennett, C. H. Knapi., J. FT. I-Cing, E. M. 



The Story of the growth of the city railway and 
interurban systems of Rockford forms an inter- 
esting chapter in the commercial development of 
the city. From very humble beginnings these 
lines have become a great factor in the municipal 
life to-day. They bring thousands of people to 
the city every week, and make Rockford the busi- 
ness, educational and amusement center for the 
great Rock river valley. 

The Rockford Street Railway company was or- 
ganized in the latter part of 1880, with a capital 
of $20,000. January 21, 1881, the secretary of 
state authorized Anthony Haines, Charles O. Up- 
ton and James Ferguson, as commissioners, to 
open books for subscriptions to stock. The orig- 
inal stockholders were : Anthony Haines, H. H. 
Robinson, James Ferguson, C. O. Lfpton, C. M. 
Brazee, R. F. Crawford, Levi Rhoades, N. E. Ly- 
man, George H. Trufant, J. S. Ticknor, A. D. 
Forbes, E. L. Woodruff, John Barnes and John 
Lake. The first directorate was chosen February 
9, 1881, at the office of Holland. Ferguson & Co., 
and consisted of the following named gentlemen : 
C. M. Brazee, A. D. Forbes, Levi Rhoades, C. O. 

Upton, R. F. Crawford, A. Haines and John 
Barnes. On the following day the directors elected 
A. Haines, president ; Levi Rhoades, vice-presi- 
dent ; H. H. Robinson, secretary: G. H. Trufant, 

The company was organized under the gen- 
eral corporation act of April 18, 1872, and a char- 
ter was obtained for ninety-nine years. June 27, 
i88r, a franchise was granted by the city council, 
and the promoters had no difficulty in securing 
the right of way. 

The records of the company, now ui possession 
of H. H. Robinson, contain this modest para- 
graph, tmder date of July 6, 1881 : 

"Moved by A. D. Forbes that the companv pro- 
ceed to make necessary arrangements to build a 
street railway from or near the corner of Mon- 
tague and South ^lain streets, in South Rockford, 
to a point at or near where South Fourth street 
crosses the Chicago & Northwestern railway, in 
East Rockford, Illinois. Motion seconded and 

The original track began on I-'ourth avenue, at 
its intersection with Fourth street, running to 
Kishwaukee, thence to State, from State to South 
Main, extending on the latter to its intersection 
with Montague. 

September 26, 1881. the capital stock was raised 
to $40,000, and December 27,- 1883, the capital 
was increased to $80,000. \\'ith a large fund at 
its disposal, the conijjany extended its track to 
the north gate of the fair ground. This line, how- 
ever, was authorized by the original tranchisc. 
The east side line was also extended on Fourth 
avenue to Seventh street, thence to the Northwest- 
ern railroad crossing. The company operated a 
doulile track on State street. 

\\'hen the first line was nearly completed an 
amusing question arose whether horses or mules 
should be used to draw the cars. The directorate 
was a tie, and President Haines gave the casting 
vote in favor of the horse. The company em- 
ployed no conductors. Passengers were supposed 
to dnip their nickel or ticket in the box. Wash- 
ers, buttons and old coins also came to fill the 
coffers of the company. The latter often proved 
of value, and were sold at good prices to coin col- 
lectors. Sometimes a five-dollar gold piece would 
be dropped in by mistake. On one occasion a lady 
left her false teeth on the seat. 

The company made some money during the 
first six years. The enterprise, however, failed to 
pay when the lines were extended to the .sparsely 
settled portions of the city. In i88g H. W. Price, 
who had become a director, and one of the great- 
est of our cit\' builders, negotiated a sale whereby 
the property of the old company passed into the 
hands of a syndicate at sixty cents on the dollar. 
"Judge"' R. N. Baylies became president, and the 
name of the corporation was changed to the Rock- 



ford City Railway company. Electricity sup- 
planted the slow, but faithful, horse, and a metro- 
politan street railway system was rapidly devel- 


It will be a matter of regret to the future his- 
torian of Rock ford tliat the records of the West 
End Street Railway company have been lost. F. A. 
Ticknor, the secretary and superintendent of the 
company, has kindly furnished interesting facts 
concerning the enteqirise. 

During the winter of 1890 a number of gentle- 
men became actively interested in the expansion of 
the city in what is now known as the "West End." 
It was proposed to construct a street railway, in 
the belief that it would increase the demand for 
lots and eventually build up a prosperous suburb. 

The leader in this movement was the late James 
S. Ticknor. who became president and secretary of 
the company. His son. Frank .\., was secretary 
and superintendent. 

The West End Street Railway company was 
organized in i8qo. with a capital of $50,000, 
which sum was subsequently increased. A fran- 
chise was obtained without serious opposition, al- 
though there was an animated controversy over 
the kind of rail to be used, which finally resulted 
in the choice of the girder type, which Ihe com- 
pany advocated. 

The first line was the West End loop, which 
started from the intersection of Elm and .South 
Main streets, west on Elm to Cleveland avenue, 
north on Cleveland avenue to .'School street, west 
on School to Johnson avenue, south on Johnson 
avenue to Anderson street, on .\nderson and 
Preston .streets to South .\von, and north on 
South Avon to Elm. 

The South Rockford line began on Elm street. 
running west to Church, south on Church to Ce- 
dar, west on Cedar to Winnebago, south on \V\n- 
nebago to Montague. 

The third line was begim at the intersection 
of Chestunt Wyman streets, running north on^^'y- 
man to Mulbern-. west on Mulberry to Horsman. 
north on Horsman to Locust, west on Eocust to 
Kilburn avenue, north on Kilburn avenue to 
School street. Eater the line was extended on 
Mullierrv to Avon, north on Avon to School, and 
east on School to connect with the first line termi- 

Tn 18^)2 the east side line was built. Tt began 
at the intersection of Church and Giestnut streets, 
running east on Chestnut and Walnut .streets to 
Third, north on Third to ^Tarket. east on Market 
to Xorth Fourth, north on Xorth Fourth to Hen- 
ton, east on Picnton to Longwood. north on Long- 
wood to Rural street. 

The East side line was subsequently extended 
on Market to the intersection of Charles and East 
State, and east on Charles to Eleventh street. 

When all its lines were completed the West 
luid company had a greater mileage than the City 
Railway, but many of them were not on the main 
thoroughfares. The road was supplied with elec- 
tric power throughout. The west end loop and 
south side lines paid well. The enterprise, how- 
ever, was not successful, and lo.-t a fortune for 
its president and his family. Tl c financial strin- 
gency of 1893 was especially severe in Rockford, 
and the West End comjjany could not stem the 
adverse tide. In 1895 t'^*^ property of the com- 
pany passed into the hands of a receiver. The 
mortgage was foreclosed, and the property was 
bid in by John Parson, who represented the bond- 


The Rockford City Railway company was or- 
ganized in 1890. I'pon the foreclosure of the 
West End Street Railway company in 1895. the 
line was owned and operated by the Rockford 
Traction company. The Rockford Railway, 
Light and Power company was organized in 1898, 
by the consolidation of the Rockford City Rail- 
way company and the Rockford Traction com- 
pany. The Rockford S: Iklviderc Electric Rail- 
way com])any was organized in 1900. The Rock- 
ford and Tntcrurban Railway company was in- 
corporated in the fall of 1902. as ,1 consolidation 
of the Rockford & P.clvidere Electric Railway 
company and the Rockford Railway, Light and 
Power company. It is capitalized at $1,000,000, 
with the following officers: R. N. Baylies, presi- 
dent: John Parson, vice-president; G. G. Olm- 
steady. secretary : F. ^^^ W^oodruff. treasurer : T. 
^1. Ellis, general manager: F. W. Mc.\ssey. au- 
ditor: C. C. Lines, superintendent of tracks. 

There are two interurban divisions — one ex- 
tending from Rockford to Pielvidere, a distance of 
fifteen miles ; the other running to Freeport. thirty 
miles west, was completed in 1904. The latter 
line is operated bv a sejiarate organization, called 
the Rockford &: Freeport Electric Railwav com- 
pany. The territory traversed by these lines is 
one of the garden spots of Illinois, and is as fer- 
tile and prosperous a region as exists in the state. 
It is drained by the Rock. Kishwaukee and Peca- 
tonica rivers. Between this city and Belvideie 
lies Cherry valley. Between Freeport and Rock- 
ford there are three towns — Ridott. Pecatonica 
and Winnebago. The highest grade is two per 
cent, for two thousand feet. 

Cars leave for Helvidere or Freeport at 6 a. m. 
and each succeeding hour until 11 p. m. The 
schedule time to Belvidere is forty-five minutes, 
with a record run of thirty-two minutes for the 
distance. Over the Freeport line the regular time 
is one hour and twenty minutes, a special having 
made the run in forty-five minutes. 

The Rockford, Beloit & Jancsville railroad, op- 
erating lx?tween Rockford, Illinois, and Janesville, 


Wisconsin, a distance of thirty-four miles, pass- 
ing- through Roscoe and Rockton, Illinois, and 
Beloit. \Msconsin, by a traffic arrangement, en- 
ters Rockford over the tracks of the Rockford & 
Interurban Railway compan}-. giving an hourly 
service to the above named points. 

The local service is very complete, a network 
of tracks intersecting the entire city and suburbs. 
Over one thousand cars pass the waiting station 
during the eighteen hours. The power used for 
interurban lines requires a 13,200-volt alternat- 
ing current, carried to the substations located at 
Winnebago, Pecatonica, Ridott and Cherry 
Valley, respectively, making them about seven 
miles apart. 

The advent of the interurban has increased the 
value of fami property in the vicinity of the 
right-of-way fully twenty per cent. Electric 
lines are projected and under way connecting va- 
rious cities and towns in this section with Rock- 
ford, and complete connection with Chicago will 
soon be realized, when Rockford will be one of 
the greatest centers of electric lines in the north- 
west. At the present time one can reach Chicago 
via electric roads, with a slight gap from Belvi- 
dere to Elgin, and a line is now being constructed 
between those cities. The prejudice existing a 
few years ago among nierchants in smaller towns 
against electric lines entering their territory has 
given way to a great enthusiasm in favor of the 

In addition to the passenger service the Rock- 
ford & Interurban Railway company has modern 
express and freight runs, and since its inaugura- 
tion, July 16. 1902, this department has been very 

Harlem Park was purchased in 1898, and as a 
pleasure resort and Chautauqua grounds has 
proven a valuable adjunct to the interurban sys- 

Substantial stations have been erected in all the 
small towns along the lines. These have com- 
fortable waiting rooms and a department for 
handling express business. In a separate part of 
the building are the electric transformers used in 
supplying power for the road. 


Winnebago county began the agitation of a 
memorial hall for its soldier and sailor dead al- 
most a quarter of a century ago, but it was not 
until 1903 that a monument was dedicated. On 
June 3d of that year President Theodore Roose- 
velt unfurled the stars and stripes over the beau- 
tiful building on North Main street. The struc- 
ture is of Bedford stone. In the basement are 
kitchens and storage rooms : on the second floor 
the post rooms, memorial tablets and club rooms, 
while on the third floor is a large auditorium and 

balcony with a seating capacity of eight hundred. 

In 1885 a resolution was introduced at a meet- 
ing of the board of supen^isors, providing for an 
appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars for 
a memorial hall. There was some question about 
the legality of the appropriation, and the resolu- 
tion failed of passage. 

Again in 1898 the matter was taken up by the 
board. Attorney A. D. Early spoke before that 
body, and everything seemed bright for an appro- 
priation. But once again the plan failed because 
the state's attorney held that the board could not 
legally appropriate money fo.r this purpose. 

Repeated failures did not dampen the ardor of 
the friends of the memorial movement, and it was 
finally determined to appeal to the legislature for 

A. D. Early drew up a bill permitting the board 
of supervisors to appropriate the money for a 
memorial, after the matter had been passed on by 
the voters of the county at a general election. 

Hon. Henry Andrus was entrusted with the 
charge of the measure, and he succeeded in secur- 
ing its passage by both branches of the legisla- 
ture, and the governor affixed his signature there- 
to without delay. 

All that then remained to be done was the circu- 
lation of petitions to the supervisors for the sub- 
mission of the proposition to the voters at the 
November election of 1900. 

The members of Nevius post and the Woman's 
Relief Corps took charge of this feature and went 
to work with a will circulating the petitions. The 
requisite number of names were readilv secured, 
and the petition duly presented. 

The question went to the people, was heartily 
indorsed, and the last obstacle in the way of the 
desired memorial was removed. The vote of the 
county stood, 6,021 yeas, 2,757 nays. 

The board of supervisors went to work with a 
will. Bradley & Carpenter were given the con- 
tract to draw plans, and \Y. H. Cook was award- 
ed the contract for the construction of the build- 
ing. President Roosevelt's visit was made the 
occasion of great celebration. It is estimated 
that Rockford entertained twenty thousand visi- 
tors on the third day of June, and entertained 
them royally. The day was perfect, and immense 
crowds lined the sidewalks to see the nation's ex- 
ecutive. All-day exercises were held, and far into 
the night the campfires of Nevius post burned 


^^^^en the call for troops came to right the 
wrongs of Cuba and to punish Spain for her 
treachery and the destruction of the Maine, Win- 
nebago county responded with more than its quota 
of men. 



Rockfonl tirsi licanl that actual liuslilitit-s had 
bcgiin on the afternoon of Tluirsdav, April 21, 
181J-. Prolonged whistles from the factories an- 
nounced the declaration of war. and all classes of 
]Ko])lc were instantly charged with the military 

President .McKinley issued a call for 100,000 
men. and congress made liberal apijropriations. 
without a dissenting vote in either house. The 
(|Uota of Illinois under this call was 6,439 "i^"''- 
Two da\ s later fompanies H and K of Rockford 
were on their way to Siiringfield. The towns 
along the way turned out to clieer them. At El- 
gin they were joined by Comi)any M. and in Chi- 
cago the Rochelle and \\'oo(lstock conijianies were 
added. .\t Joliet. Colonel P.ennitt and staff and 
tile company from that city were accessions. The 
regiinent arrived at Camp Tanner .\pril 27th. 
AJFter two weeks at Camp Tanner the boys left. 
Mav 14th, for Chattanooga. 

Rocktord was made more fully aware of the 
realitv of tlie war on the afternoon of May 27th. 
when a telegram came from Chattanooga an- 
nouncing the death of T'irst lieutenant C. E. .Al- 
mond. The remains arrived in Rockford on Me- 
morial day. and were buried with military honors. 
He was the first soldier from Winnebago county 
to die during this war. 

.\fter weeks of waiting, the Rockford boys re- 
ceived word to move from Camp Thomas in the 
latter part of Jid.v. and Sunday, July 24th, found 
them on their way to Newport News, where they 
took the transport for Porto Rico. Their record 
in the island campaign was one of which they 
have reason to be proud. 

One of the sad incidents of the war was the 
death of Lieutenant W. .\. Talcott. Jr.. which oc- 
curred at Watch Hill, Rhode Island, .\ugnst ^, 
as the result of illness contracted in the service. 
He enlisted with the Seventy-first New York 
\'olunteers, and was jiromoted for bravery. Mr. 
Talcott had recently been admitted to the bar. and 
a bright future was apparently before him. 

.Another Winnebago boy who went to war and 
death was Harry Potter. He was a member of 
Company H. 

A few davs later came word of the death of 
Corporal Lillic. A comrade at the time said : 
"He was a good soldier and never shirked his 

.Another Rockford soldier who died from dis- 
ease instead of bullets was Private Renus Nelson, 
who was a memlx-r of the First Wisconsin Regi- 
ment. He died from fever at the citv hos])ital. 

.After the hostilities had ceased, the Rockford 
sokliers were kept on the island for several weeks, 
and finally sailed for home October i6th. 

The Third Regiment reached Rockford on its 
return Friday, Novemlx'r nth. The return was 
a great event in the history of Rockford. It was 

estimated that twenty thousand persons stood in 
the cold around the Illinois Central depot and 
watched the trains bearing the soldiers. It was 
10 o'clock before they arrived. There was a big 
clis])lay of fireworks and a deafening discharge of 
artillery in welcome to the men. 

.\ few days later there was a i)ageant of peace. 
.V banquet was served the returned soldiers, and 
there was an immense parade. It was a night of 
red fire and patriotism. 

A sad touch was given the general atmosphere 
of rejoicing by the news of Jeremiah Ilooley's 
death in Chicago. 

A few days later the Rockford boys received 
their discharges and had settled down to the pur- 
suits of peace. 

The following is a list of the members of Com- 
panies H and K : 


Captain — \\'illiam H. P.rogunier. 

Finst Lieutenant — Charles E. .Almond. 

Second Lieutenant — William H. Sarver. 

First Sergeant — George Searle. 

Quartermaster-Sergeant — Harry E. Brogunier. 

Sergeants — .Axel L. Hulten. Herbert L. P>ack- 
us. Fred L. Auchter, Harry T. Potter. 

Corporals — Peter Lindberg. l-'rank E. Osljorn, 
Fritz Johnson. Ed C. Johnson, W. C. King. .An- 
ton Johnson, C. Rov Speake. Fred W. Farmiloe, 
John W. Pctrie, Henry Sanders, George H. 
riaker. Gihnore Grant. 

Musicians — William II. Stuckev, Stillman 
\'alley : Louis W. Miles. 

.Artificer — George H. Allen. 

Wagoner — Charles E. Richardson. 

Privates — Charles E. .Adamson, Roy .Archer, 
.August L. .Vpplegren. Leon M. Baldwin. Streat- 
or : James L. Basford. Frank B. Basford, Clar- 
ence C. Bover, Richar<l Boyer, Joseph Boyer, 
George L. Baxter, Louis M. Barker, Isaac W, 
Breckcnridge, London, Pa.: Swan Carlson, 
Giarles E. Carlson. .Arthur P>. Carr, Sullivan L. 
Clark, Joseph Caldwell, James Coyne. Edward E. 
Cowles, Edgar E. Campbell. Henry J. Dillon, 
Charles J. Dillon, II. J. Dickerman, Hiram R, 
Drake, Fort .Atkin.son, W'isconsin ; John Garry, 
John J. Hooley, Joseph .A. Hunter, Edward 
Houseman, Fred Johnson, Ix>uis W. Jones, John 
R. Tohnson. David F. King. .Andrew T. Lawler, 
.Mbert E. I^imb. John W.' Lindell. P.ert J. Lin- 
dell. Richard H. Limigberg. Otto Lundin. Frank 
E. Mahon. Peter J. McGrath. William F. Mur- 
phv, Richard Noreen, O.scar G. Olson, .Albert 
O'Garr. Harry E. Osgood, Frank G. Parker, 
lames W. Paxton. Rudolph L. Peterson, Rudolph 
.\. Perterson, Charles Sederstrom, Charles Sea- 
lander, Gustav Schmidtz. George H. Shepard, 
Tohn .'"^inilh. John ,\. Tavlor, I^wrence Taylor, 



Edward Ta}-lor, Eugene Tunison. Emil \'an 
Holsbeke, Frank H. Welch. Abe L. YingHng. 
Recruits — Gustave G. Boetcher, Milwaukee : 
Mark M. Butler, Belvidere ; Joseph Bath, Thomas 
Blachford. Belvidere ; Arthur R. Davis. Joliet ; 
Albert L. Ferree, Coldwatcr, ^lich. ; Richard 
Flynn. Belvidere ; Josepn Flannerv. Belvidere ; 
Louis Gastman, Jerry F. Holey. Robert A. Hunt- 
er. Clarence Hunieston. Henry S. Hensel, Oscar 
A. Jackson. William S. Lawman. Belvidere: John 
J. AIcGrath. Andrew F. Alaloney, Belvidere ; 
Oron McConel. William Outcalt. Yerman Out- 
calt. Edward C. Osmus, Roy M. Phelps, Belvi- 
dere : John ^^'. Roderick, Belvidere ; Edward ^^^ 
Roderick, Belvidere ; John E. Randolph, Garden 
Prairie: Henry Schmitz, Peoria; Fred B. Stock- 


Captain — Edwin E. Leonard. 

First Lieutenant — James A. Ruggles. 

Second Lieutenant — Ernest L. Hess. 

First Sergeant — Lee Lemaire. 

Quartermaster-Sergeant — Eric Swcnbcig. 

Sergeants — Edward A. Ouinn. Frank ?il, Hull. 
Frank Smith, ^^'ill AlcDermaid. 

Corporals — \\'alter 1!. Tavlor. Eric Kjellgren, 
Walter Wall, Samuel C. Hull Fred J. Corey'." Lu- 
man P.. Lillie. William M. Banner, Fred H. 
Wlieeler. George A. Trumbo, Will J. Barbour, 
John B. Chaney. 

Musicians — Charles E. Frank. Knutt O. Juh- 

Artificer — Richard Anderson. 

Privates — Charles E. Anderson, Fred C. Bar- 
bour. Charles G. Bowman. Joseph H. Bryden. 
Thatcher B. Bean. Frank Betts. Williams Buske. 
Oscar X. Danielson. Bert Dundon, Richard Al. 
Eylward, Edward H. Engqnist, Emil Flood. Wil- 
got Flood. Fred Fellows. Joseph Frost, Gust T. 
Gustafson. Robert K. Gustafson. Charles G. Gns- 
tafson. Harold R. Gaston. James H. Galloway, 
Charles O. Harper. Lycurgus A. Hall, Joseph B, 
Hoffman, Clinton S. Holmes, Benjamin A. Hun- 
ter. John Hagenson, Harrv Hunter. Jason B. Is- 
bell. Eric S. Johnson. Louis H. Johnson, Frank 
A. Jordan, Chicago : Elmer R. Johnson. Axel 
Kjellgren. Paul R. Klentz, \'ictor Liliydahl, Paul 
C. Loveland, Peter A. Larson, Robert S. Lane, 
^^'illianl H. Mcintosh, Israel X^. ^^futimer, George 
Matthews, Harry Nelson, Fred R. Olson. \Tctor 
C. Olson, Henry Odenahl, Ed Ostness, Edwin 
Oberg, Floyd Osmus, George Pitney, Harry M. 
Putnam, Harry A. Parson, Frank R. Ridgley, 
Matthew Ryan, Wilbur P. Raymond. Charles F. 
Strong. Linus Selin. Bruce W. Savage. Grant 
Shields, Otto Stohlgren. Carl R. Savage, Charles 
A. Thorne. George Whitmore. Recruits — Lewis 
Ahlberg, Belvidere; Charles G. Barnes, Byron; 
Frank Blank, Belvidere ; John F. Clayton, Belvi- 

dere ; Louis J. Caswell, Claus Ekstedt, Cherry 
\'nllrv : Wdiinm Fallon, Evert J. Garlock, Byron ; 
Israel J. Ferris, Robert B. Hart, Byron ; Charles 
E. Gooman, Guy Holland. Herman Huffman. 
Adolph Johnson, John E, Jones, Ernest Kilgore, 
Byron ; Otto Koch, Belvidere ; Henry C, Lane, 
Byron ; George Monroe, Belvidere ; Martin F. 
Xally, Byron : Clarence C. X'elson. George Patter- 
son, Steven Powell. Joseph H. L^nderwood. By- 
ron ; Frans A. Titus, Clarence G. Tetlow, Belvi- 
dere ; Ernest D. Wallace. 

Other Rockford boys who enlisted for the 
Spanish- American war were : 

Third Illinois Regiment — Companv A : Charles 
R. Gipe, Axel L. Kjellgren. 

Company D : Howard C. Carpenter. James 

Company F : Selwyn L. Clark, Charles Jen- 
kins, Charles Sederstorm. 

Company G: Richard Anderson, Rav T. 
Barnes, Robert S. Farrar. 

Company M : Frank W. Adams. Ernest V. 
Johnson. William J. Myers. C. A. George Sahlin. 

Sixth Regiment, Infantry — Companv L: John 
M. Keefe. 

Seventh Regiment. Infantry — Companv L: 
Guy L. Harvey. 

Company M : Dennis Owens. 

Eighth Regiment. Infantry — Harry S. Mc- 

Third Neljraska. Infantry — W^arren H. Rav. 

First L'. S. Engineers — Comjjany F : ^^^ D. 

First IJ. S. \'ol. Infantrv — Company B : P. 
^^■. Doolittle. 

Fortieth Wisconsin Infantrv — Companv B ; 
William H. Fitch. 

First Regiment. Fifth Wisconsin Artillery — 
Josiah C. Forbes. 

Third Alissouri Cavalrv — Company G; George 
H. Forbes. 

Second U. S. \'. Engineers. Second Battalion — 
C. Kingley Ray. 

Fifty-first Iowa Infantry — Company B : El- 
mer G. Stockberger. 

Arthur E. Fisher went to the front with the 
Third Regiment as lieutenant-colonel. In 1899 
he was elected colonel of the Third Re.giment, 
and served the full term of five years. He was 
re-elected in 1904. and resigned in the spring of 
1905. after having rendered nineteen years of 
military service to the state. 



During the year 1883 the subject of organizing 
a hospital for the city of Rockford became an 
object of much interest, both to the medical pro- 



fession and to the comiminity at large, .\inoiig 
the physicians especially interested in the move- 
ment were the late T. (i. Vincent, W. 
H. Fitch and F. H. Kimhall. The sub- 
ject elicited much attention at the meet- 
ings of the medical society of the coun- 
ty, and in the autumn of 1883 resulted in the ap- 
pointment of a committee to secure a corporate 
e.xistcnce under the laws of the state. The com- 
mittee so appointed made application and received 
from the secretary of state a certificate of organ- 
ization, under date of December 15, 1883. The 
incorporators were Drs. A. E. Goodwin, Silas A. 
Austin. Frank H. Kimball, Frank K. Hill. Lem- 
uel Tibbcts. Thomas G. Vincent. 

It was the desire of the promoters to secure the 
co-operation of the churches, and the selection of 
trustees was made with this end in view. The 
original board consisted of the following citizens: 
William A. Talcott, William Lathrop, Norman 
C. Thompson, William Brown, Jeremiah Davis, 
H. W. Carpenter. John Z. Rydberg, Thour 
Munthe, R. P. Lane. R. F. Whipple. Thomas 
Butterworth. Frances I. Price, ;\Iary H. Penfield, 
Jane G. Wilkins, Adeline E. Emerson. 

Upon the completion of the organization the 
physicians, by choice, were no longer officially 
identified with the hospital association. A num- 
ber of the original board have been called by 
death, and in several instances their sons have 
been chosen to succeed them. 

.At a meeting held January 29, 1884, a tempo- 
rary organization was effected by the election of 
William Brown as chairman and William .\. Tal- 
cott as secretary of the board of trustees. .Vt a 
meeting held April 8, 1884, a constitution and 
by-laws were adopted. A permanent organiza- 
tion was effected by the election of the following 
officers : President, William Brown ; vice-presi- 
dent, Mrs. Jane G. Wilkins ; secretary and treas- 
urer. William A. Talcott. 

Shares were placed at $10 each, and were taken 
by a large number of the citizens. Selden M. 
Cliurch took thirty shares : Dr. Fitch, thirty 
shares; Dr. R. P. Lane, fifty .shares; Emerson, 
Talcott & Co., fifty shares ; Thomas D. Robertson, 
fifty shares ; Horatio Stone, fifty shares. 

June 21, 1884, the board of trustees met to con- 
sider the question of the selection and purchase 
of suitable hospital grounds. At this meeting 
several propositions for location were canvassed, 
.^niong these was the proposition of Dr. W. H. 
Fitch for the sale to the association of his prop- 
erty, consisting of a plat of about 125 feet front- 
age on South Court street by 156 feet deep, and 
having a south and east exposure, at the price of 
$6,800 — $300 payable in certificates of member- 
ship. The trustees, as a body, examined the prop- 
erty, and thereafter passed the following resolu- 
tion, viz. : 

"Resolved. That we deem it wise that the asso- 
ciation shall at once take necessary steps to pro- 
cure hospital grounds." 

The following resolution was unanimously 
adopted : 

"Resolved, That the president and secretary be 
and hereby are authorized to accept the proposi- 
tion of Dr. W. H. Fitch for the sale of his proper- 
ty of 125 front on Court street. West Rockford, 
for the use of the association, and make the nec- 
essary papers therefor, unless more favorable 
terms can be obtained." 

By subsequent arrangement with Dr. Fitch, the 
association purchased the property, paying there- 
for $6,200 cash and $300 in certificates of mem- 
bership. The property was fully paid for, and 
the deed made and delivered on July i. 1885, at 
which time the association received possession. 

When the property was paid for and the title 
obtained, the association immediately proceeded 
to make such repairs and changes as were re- 
quired to adapt the building, as far as practicable, 
to hospital uses. The hospital opened October i, 
1885. Dr. S. A. Austin and Dr. F. H. Kimball 
were the first attending physician and surgeon, 
respectively. Drs. R. P. Lane and D. S. Clark 
were the first consulting ])hysicians. and Drs. W. 
II. Fitch and Henry Richings the first consulting 
.surgeons. The first patient was received Octo- 
ber loth. 

Mrs. Martha J. Smith, more familiarly known 
as ".'Vunt Jane," was the first matron. She as- 
sumed this responsibility October i, 1885, and 
faithfully administered its duties nearly fifteen 
years, until .\pril, 1900. Miss Lizzie C. Glenn 
was appointed matron March 28, igoo. She re- 
signed April 6, 1901. and Miss Flora B. Patch 
(now Mrs. A. D. Early) was appointed. Miss 
Patch resigned November i, 1902. and Miss Alma 
M. Barter received the aiapointment. which posi- 
tion she now holds. Miss Loring is assistant. 

Hospital Sunday was established in the 
churches October 10. 1885, by a resolution of the 
hospital trustees, which has since been maintained 
with a very liberal spirit. 

In 1888 steps were taken to provide a perma- 
nent fund for the maintenance of the hospital. 
The ammmt of this finul in round numbers is 
about fifty thousand dollars. 

In 1887 a new hospital building was erected, 
fronting on Chestnut street. In 1901 Mrs. Ade- 
line E. Emerson, in memory of her deceased son, 
Ralph Emerson, Jr., contributed the funds for 
an addition to the hospital for an operating room 
and office. In 1904 a s)ilendid addition was erect- 
ed on the site of the first hospital building, at a 
cost of alxiut fifty thousand dollars. 

William Brown served as president from 1884 
to 1886. William Lathrop from 1886 to 1887. Ho- 
ratio Stone from 1887 to January 29, 1896. when 



his death occurred. Wilham Lathrop was elected 
to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. 
Stone, which office he has since continuously held. 

W. A. Talcott served as secretary and treasurer 
of the hospital from its inception to the time of 
his death, which occurred in Palestine, December 
19, 1900. The success of the institution is in 
large measure due to his liberality and untiring 
effort. His son. Wait Talcott, was elected to the 
position so ably filled by his father, April 6, 1901, 
which position he now holds. 

The largest gift to the hospital fund was from 
the estate of Horatio Stone, which was $27,000; 
the next largest is from W. A. Talcott and fam- 
ily, $12,000, and A. D. Forbes and family, $10,- 
500. Several others have contributed from $2,400 
to $5,000. 

During the fiscal year ending April i, 1904, 
482 patients were received for treatment. 

The present board of trustees are John Barnes, 
H. H. Robinson, Mrs. E. P. Lathrop, Walter A. 
Forbes. P. A. Peterson, L. L. Morrison, William 
C. Butterworth, Wait Talcott, B. F. Whipple, 
Katherine M. Keeler. Frank R. Brown. Antes S. 
Ruhl, John H. Sherratt, William Lathrop, Kate 
F. O'Connor. 


Although but six years old, St. .\nthony hos- 
pital has become one of the substantial institutions 
of our progressive city. 

Some seven or eight years ago about a half 
dozen physicians associated themselves together 
with the object in view of establishing a hospital 
for East Rockford — "A hospital," said one of the 
staff, "whose advantages might be enjoyed by any 
phvsician or surgeon entitled to practice his art 
in the state of Illinois." The maintenance of this 
liberal policy in the conduct of its aft'airs has been 
one of the most potent features in the success of 
the hospital. Early in its history the late William 
Crotty became interested in the project, and gave 
of his time, money and strength to raise means to 
purchase a site. 

The Sisters of St. Francis, whose headquarters 
are at Peoria, were invited to visit Rockford and 
select a location. They accepted the invitation 
and selected the present site at 1401 East State 
street. The purchasing price of this property was 
$12,000, one-half of which was furnished by the 
Sisters. Three thousand dollars was the personal 
contribution of physicians who are members of 
the staff. The remaining three thousand dollars 
necessary for the purchasing price was given by 
friends of Rockford and Winnebago county. 

The property, title and entire management of 
the hospital is vested in the Sisters' society — a 
plan desired even by those most intimately asso- 
ciated in its origin, as it made it possible for all 

physicians to pursue their work there upon an 
even footing. 

The large brick residence which stood upon the 
property was fitted up by the Sisters, and in Au- 
gust, 1899, the hospital was opened for the re- 
ception of patients. The patronage given was so 
liberal that within two years accommodations 
could not be afforded all the patients seeking ad- 
mission. To provide for this, an addition was 
erected at the cost of $60,000. The corner-stone 
was laid May 22, 1902, and in March, 1903, the 
new building was formally opened. This im- 
provement enables the hospital to accommodate 
sixty patients. 

This order of Sisters maintains seven other 
hospitals in various cities of Illinois, Iowa and 
Michigan, and they must be accorded great praise 
for their tact, thrift and industry, which have 
made the success of these enterprises possible. On 
the other hand, the Sisters are keenly appreciative 
of the help and sympathy given their work from 
the city and county and from the many kind 
friends everywhere. 

St. Anthony hospital is thoroughly equipped 
for scientific work, and with its new building and 
beautiful, spacious grounds, is one of the most 
attractive spots in Rockford. 

The following physicians are members of the 
hospital staff : 

Attending surgeons, Drs, I. E. Allaben, P. L. 
:\Iarkley. Frank ""K. Hill. 

Consulting surgeons, Drs. J. ]\Iurphy. Weller 
Van Hook, T. J. Watkins, all of Chicago. 

Attending physicians, Drs. S. C. Andrus. A. J. 
]\Iarkley, Belvidere. 

Oculists, Drs. L. Tibbets, Grant Hatch. 


For many years observant people had recog- 
nized the need of a comfortable home in which 
the aged poor could receive proper care. No 
existing organization fully met this demand. In 
recognition of this fact, and in response to a 
public call, a number of citizens of Rockford and 
vicinity convened at the Nelson House, July 7, 
1904, to discuss the project of establishing a home 
for the aged of Winnebago county. Among those 
present at this first meeting were Mesdames B. 
R. Waldo. Chandler Starr,*" M. B. St. John. M. 
R. Harned, J. M. Fraley. Hervey, of Dubuque : 
Misses Kate F. O'Connor, Ama Taylor, Rev. R. 
C. Brvant. Messrs. Charles Sabin, G. Nordstrom 
and B. R. Waldo. 

Mt. Nordstrom started a fund with a gift of 
$500. A temporary organization was effected, 
with Rev. R. C. Bryant as chairman and Miss 
Kate F. O'Connor secretary. A committee of 
five on constitution and by-laws was appointed by 
the chair. An adjourned session was held July 



14th, at which time the conimittee on constitution 
and by-laws submitted its report, which, after 
a few sli.irht amenilnients, was adopted. Tlie fol- 
lowing names were subscribed, which form the 
cliarter membership of the association : G. Xord- 
strom, Charles Sabin, Ama Taylor, Kate F. 
O'Connor, Susan H. Rogers, P. M. Snvdcr, F. H. 
Rodman, B. R. Waldo, Mary M. Burchfield, Fan- 
nie B. Waldo. Stella R. Ricker. Annetta G. Mari- 
ner. Blanche Ellis Starr. Ellen M. St. John. Mrs. 
11. II. Robinson. Mrs. (ieorjje Manny. Mrs. M. 
H. Lane and Mrs. L. A. Weylnirn. 

Charles Sabin became a life member by sub- 
scribing' $100. A committee on nominations w-as 
ap])ointcd, which reported at an adjourned meet- 
ing, held Jiily 2 1 St. On that date a full board of 
managers were elected, as follows : For one year, 
.Mesdames Jeanette C. Robinson, Adeline E. 
Thom])son. .-Mice Shoults. Messrs. Charles F. 
Jackson, (J. Xordstrom. George W. Collins ; for 
two years. Mesdames .\niia R. Page, M. R. Har- 
ned. Kate F. O'Connor, Messrs. Robert C. Lind, 

D. B. Redington. A. S. T. Ogilby : for three years. 
Mesdames IJlanche Ellis Starr, May Brow-n 
Buckbee. Byron Graham, Fannie B. Waldo, H. 
Helena Weyburn, S. .A. Johnson. The following 
officers for the year were elected : H. Helena 
Weyburn. president: Mrs. Fannie Pi. Waldo, vice- 
president ; Kate F. O'Connor, secretary : Robert 
C. Lind. treasurer. The lioard was instructed to 
incorporate under the laws of Illinois. .\t a sub- 
sequent meeting rules for the matron and gov- 
ernment of the home and a set of a])i)lication 
blanks were adoi)ted. The officers were consti- 
tuted a conimittee to select a site. This commit- 
tee recommended the leasing of the Crawford 
homestead. 408 Xorth Horsman street, at a rental 
of $25 per month. This ])roposition met the ap- 
proval of the board, and the committee was in- 
structed to close negotiations for the same. Ma- 
ria G. Hobart w-as elected matron for one year 
from October i, 1904- 

The home was formally opened October 2. 
ir>04. It ])roved a veritable shower day. Furni- 
ture, provisions, clothing, checks and cash were 
received, and the tables were laden with gifts 
from the generous people of Rockford and vicin- 
ity. The home is now filled. There have been 
thirteen inmates, two of whom have died. These 
were Mrs. Caroline Wyman and Xancy Holdcn 

Through the efforts of Mrs. Chandler .Starr 
and Mrs. M. R. Harned, of the ways and means 
committee, the board of supervisors made an ap- 
propriatif)n of $500 for the home. 

Mrs. May Brown Buckbee and Mrs. .Xdeline 

E. Thompson have resigned from the board, and 
Mrs. E. P. Catlin and Miss .\nna Beattie have 
l)cen chosen to succee<! them. 

At a meeting held in July. 1905, the board 
voted to invest in a pemianent home. The pres- 
ent home known as the Crawford jiropcrty seemed 
most available and reasonable, and it was there- 
fore selected, at a consideration of $6,500. As 
the society had $5.cxx) on hand, a loan was nego- 
tiated at a bank for the balance, and the amount 
of the purchase price was paid in full. 


Rockford was incorporated as a city in 1852. 
I'nder its original charter, the mayor was elected 

Willard Wheeler was the first mayor of Rock- 
ford. He came from St. Thomas, L^pper Canada, 
in September, 1839. He was the second tinner in 
the town. Mr. \Vheeler was a brother of the late 
Solomon Wheeler. 

The second mayor was Hiram R. Maynard. 
Pie came to Rockf(jrd in 1837 with his brother- 
in-law. Benjamin Kilburn. Mr. Maynard con- 
ducted a general store in a one-story frame build- 
ing on the Masonic temple site. It was subse- 
quently used by the late C. A. Huntington as an 
academy. The Second Congregational church 
was in this building. A daughter of 
Mr. Ma\nard is a local .Salvation .Army worker. 

I'lysscs M. Warner was the third mayor, elect- 
ed in 1854. He carried on a general store on 
West State street with Hiram R. Maynard. and 
later was in business alone. Mr. Warner built 
the C. F. Henry block, and Warner's hall was the 
jiopular lecture and concert hall for many years. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson and other celebrities lec- 
tured there. H. S. and the late Charles F. 
Warner were sons. 

Edward \'aughn was elected in 1855, and 
served one term. He was in partnership with his 
brother-in-law. Charles F. Lewis, father of Fay, 
Harry \\'. and C. Herbert Lewis. They con- 
ducted a general store on the site of .Vrmstrong's 
clothing store. 

James L. Loop was elected in 1856. Especial 
mention has been made of Mr. Loop in another 
part of this history. Further reference is made 
to him in the article on The Bench and Bar. 

William Brown was elected in 1857. Mr. 
Brown is mentioned more fully in the article on 
The liench and Bar. 

.Seely Perry was elected in 1858. He was a 
prominent lumber merchant of Rockford for more 
than half a century. He was a native of Stock- 
bridge, Massachusetts, where he was bom in 1822. 
He was graduated from I'nion College and came 
to Rockford in 1851. Mr. PerrA- also ser\ed the 
city as alderman, member of the board of educa- 
tion and a director of the public library. 



Charles Williams was elected in 1859, and 
served five years. He is known as the '"war 
mavor," and has the distinction of having been 
elected more consecutive terms than any other cit- 
izen who has held that office. He would have 
been chosen again, but positively declined. Mr. 
\\^illiams was a native of Massachusetts and came 
to Rockford in 1855. He died in 1876. Miss 
Elizabeth Williams is a daughter. 

Albert Fowler was elected in 1864, and served 
two years. He possessed a competence when he 
came to the city, and lived a retired life. He sub- 
sequentlv suffered some reverses. He was fath- 
er-in-law of E. H. Griggs, at one time editor of 
the Rockford Register. 

Edward H. Baker was elected in 1866. Fur- 
ther mention is made of him in the chapter on 
The Bench and Bar. 

Mr. Fowler was elected for a second term in 
1867, and Mr. Baker again succeeded Mr. Fow- 
ler in 1868. 

Sevniour G. Bronson was elected in 1869, and 
served four 3'ears. In 1872 Mr. Bronson was the 
democratic nominee for member of congress, and 
was defeated by General Stephen A. Hurlbut. of 
Belvidere. Mrs. Calista J. Smith, of Rockford, 
is a sister of Mr. Bronson. 

Gilbert Woodrufif was elected in 1873, and 
served two years. He came to Rockford in 1857, 
and soon after he purchased and platted a farm, 
which is now known as Woodruff's addition. He 
was therefore one of the real builders of Rock- 
ford. Mr. Woodrufif died in October, 1903. He 
was president of the Rockford National bank 
from its organization to his death, president of 
the Forest City Furniture company from 1875, 
and president of the Forest City Insurance com- 
pany from its organization in 1873. 

Robert H. Tinker was elected in 1875. He 
was born in Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, where 
his father. Rev. Reuben Tinker, was a mission- 
ary, sent out by the Presbyterian church. Mr. 
Tinker came to Rockford in 1856, ami built the 
Swiss cottage, the most picturesque home in the 
city. In 1870 he married the widow of John H. 
Manny. She died in 1901. In 1904 he married 
Mrs. Jessie Dorr Hurd. Mr. Tinker has been 
interested in various manufacturing enterprises 
on the water-power. 

Levi Rhoades was elected in 1876. Few citi- 
zens of Rockford have been identified with as 
many interests as Mr. Rhoades. He was a large 
stockholder in the Rockford paper mills, presi- 
dent of the Rockford W'atch company, and one 
of the original promoters of the old city railway. 
He also had investments in other enterprises. 

Duncan Ferguson was mayor from 1877 to 
1878. He was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, 
came to America in 1837. and settled in Rockford 
two years later. In 1862 he was appointed as- 

sessor of internal revenue, and retained this office 
eight years. He also held the positions of city 
engineer, assessor and county treasurer. 

William Watson was elected in 1878. He was 
the founder of the Rockford Insurance company 
and was its secretary up to the time of his death. 

Sylvester B. Wilkins succeeded Mr. Watson 
in 1879, and served two years. He is a native of 
New York, and came to Rockford in 1870. He 
was president of the Rockford bolt works, and 
later of the Wilkins Knitting company. 

Samuel P. Crawford was elected in 1881, and 
served two years. It was during his term that 
important steps were taken toward establishing a 
waterworks system. Upon the failure of the N. 
C. Thompson Manufacturing company, Mr, 
Crawford was appointed assignee, and adminis- 
tered the affairs very successfully. 

Alfred Taggart was elected in 1883, and served- 
four years. The distinctive feature of his admin- 
istration was the reorganization of the public 
schools of the city. The city council was a tie on 
the selection of a high school site, and it was Mr. 
Taggart's casting vote that decided the contro- 
versy in favor of the east side. 

H. C. Scovill has served the city in more im- 
portant official capacities than any other citizen. 
Mr. Scovill came to Rockford in 1865 and en- 
gaged in the lumber business. He was a member 
of the board of supervisors five years, and alder- 
man in the city council eight years, from 1878 to 
1886. In 1887 he was elected mayor, and served 
one term. In 1897 he was elected city clerk, and 
still holds the office. 

John H. Sherratt was chosen mayor in 1889, 
and served one term. He is a native of Winne- 
bago county. In 18(12 he enlisted as a private in 
the Seventy-fourth Illinois Infantrv, and was 
mustered out with the rank of captain. For manv 
years after the war he was associated with the 
Rockford Insurance company, and subsequently 
became secretary of the Forest City Insurance 
company. Mr. Sherratt succeeded the late A. C. 
Spafford as president of the Third National bank. 

Henry N. Starr was elected mayor in 189T, and 
served two years. Mayor Starr was the first to 
appoint ladies on the board of education and the 
public librarv board. Mr. .Starr was for some 
years proprietor of the old Holland House. 

Amasa Hutchins was elected in 1893. He was 
born in Guilford, Winnebago county, in 1843. 
He enlisted in the Union army and served through 
the Civil war. In 1880 he was elected sheriff of 
Winnebago county, and served six years. He has 
been engaged in the monument business, and is 
one of the owners of the steamer Illinois. 

Edward W. Brown has the honor of holding 
the office of mayor longer than any other one 
citizen. He was elected in 1895, and re-elected in 
1897 and 1899, serving six years. He was born 



in Rockford in 1857, and is a son of the late 
Judge Brown, one of the early mayors. It is the 
only instance in Rockford history where father 
and son liavc held the office of mayor. In 1884 
Mr. Brown was appointed the first local agent of 
the Illinois L'cnlral Railroad company, which po- 
sition he still holds. In 1885 he was elected al- 
derman from the old Second ward, and served 
seven years. During his administration as mayor, 
many of the most notable public improvements 
were made. 

In 1901 .\masa Hutcliins was again elected 
mayor, and served one term. 

Charles E. Jackson is the last, as well as the 
voungest, mayor of Rockford. He was elected in 
1903. Mr. Jackson is a native of Boone county, 
born Xovcmber 30, 1867. In 1891 he established 
a wholesale portrait and frame business, which 
he has conducted most successfully, extending his 
sales into every state in the Union and into for- 
eign countries. Mayor Jackson's administration 
has been efficient, and meets the approval of the 


The first bank in Rockford was opened in 1848 
by the late Thomas D. Robertson and John A. 
Holland. Their place of business was a low frame 
building adjoining the European hotel site on 
West State street. In 1851 J. S. Coleman re- 
moved from New York to Rockford, and became 
a member of the firm, the name of which was 
changed to Robertson, Coleman & Co. Mr. Cole- 
man built the stone inansion on North Main street, 
now the home of Colonel William Nelson. The 
firm continued in business in its small quarters 
until 1855. when the present Winnebago National 
bank block was completed. Until the death of 
Mr. Holland in 1835, Melancthon Starr was ad- 
mitted to the firm, and after Mr. Coleman's death 
in 1864 the firm name was changed to Robertson 
& Starr, which continued until the organization 
of the Winnebago bank in 1865. 

In October. 1852, the Bank of Rockford was 
organized under the general banking law of the 
state. Charles I. Horsman was president and 
Charles C. Wilcox was cashier. .\ sworn state- 
ment of its condition on the first Monday in July, 
1853, reported a circulation of $49,995. The late 
Levi Moulthroj) began his business career as a 
clerk in this bank, when he was twelve years of 
age, and remained five years. The bank sus- 
pended in 1857. 

The banking house of SpafFord, Clark & Ellis 
was founded in November, 1854. The firm con- 
sisted of C. H. SpafFord. Dr. D. G. Clark and E. 
F. W. Ellis. Dr. Clark came to Rockford in 
1848. Two years later he went to California, 
and returned in 1853. Dr. Clark died October 
4, 1861. SpafFord, Clark & Ellis did business 
in the old stone building on the alley on the south 

side of State, between Main and Qiurch. This 
building has been torn down and replaced by a 
modern structure by Hon. E. B. Sumner. This 
bank went into liquidation, and Mr. Spafford is 
said to have paid its obligations in full. 

In 1854 was also established the banking house 
of Briggs. Spafford & Penfuld. in East Rock- 
ford, which became the Third National bank. 
The members of the firm were C. C. Briggs, A. C. 
Spafford and David Penfield. 

January , 1855, the banking firm of Dickerman, 
Wheeler & Co. began business on West State 
street. The firm consisted of W. A. Dickerman, 
Bucl G. Wheeler, G. .\. Sanford and R. P. Lane. 
This house became the Second National bank. 

Fuller & Tomkins began banking business in 
the W'orthington block. East Rockford, in 1853. 
The firm consisted of Allen C. and E. L. Fuller 
and Enos and N. C. Tomkins, all of Belvidere. 
The firm was later called E. L. Fuller & Co. 

E. H. Potter & Co. and Edward N. Kitchel 
were also in the banking business on the liast 

These banks complete the list for Rockford to 
1861. It was a day of unstable currency, when 
"wildcat" money was abundant, but worthless. 
This fact made banking a precarious business, as 
compared with the splendid system of today. 

Tlie private bank of N. C. Thompson was 
opened aliout i8fio in the Iniilding now occupied 
by the Manufacturers' National l)ank. It is said 
Mr. Thompson had $150,000 on deposit in Chi- 
cago banks at the time of the great fire in 1871. 
This bank closed its doors in 1884. 

The First National bank of Rockford began 
business June 15, 1864, with Alonzo Wood as 
president, and E. H. Griggs, cashier. It occupied 
the .second floor of the C. F. Hcnr\- block. Mr. 
Wood conducted a large general store, approach- 
ing the modern department store, and had the 
four stores now occupied by C. F. Henry and A. 
C. Deming. The First National was popularly 
called •A\^ood's bank." His son, W. W. Wood, 
succeeded to the management, with George Strat- 
ton as cashier. The bank and the store tumbled 
into a common ruin. The first currency issued in 
Rockford under the national banking law was put 
in circulation bv the First National bank, August 
5, 1864. 

The Second National bank was organized in 
1865 as the successor of the banking firm of Lane. 
.Sanford & Co. The principal stockholders were 
Dr. R. r. Lane. G. A. Sanford and \\'. .\. Dick- 
erman. In its prime it was the largest banking 
house in the city, but reverses came, and the in- 
stitution finally closed its doors. H. H. Waldo 
was appointed receiver. 

.\ bank started on Seventh street by John Bud- 
long in the early nineties completes the list of 
lionses which have |)asse<l out of business. This 
bank succumbed to the financial crash of 1893. 



The Winnebago National bank is the oldest in 
the city, representing an unbroken line since 1848, 
when Robertson & Holland began business in a 
small and primitive way. The Winnebago opened 
its doors April 3. 1855, with T. D. Robertson, 
president ; Melancthon Starr, vice-president ; 
Spencer Rising, cashier. 

The Third National bank was organized in 
1864, to succeed the banking firm of Briggs, 
Spafford & Penfield. A. C. Spafford was presi- 
dent until his death in 1897. '^^- T. Wallis was 
the first cashier. His succesosrs have been L. A. 
Trowbridge and George C. Spafford. Captain 
John H. Sherratt succeeded .\. C. Spafiford as 

The People's bank was incorporated in 1869, 
under a special act of the general assembly of Illi- 
nois. The presidents have been N. E. Lyman, 
A. D. Forbes and Harry F. Forbes. The bank is 
capitalized at $125,000. 

The Rockford National bank began business in 
May, 1871. Gilbert Woodruff was president un- 
til his death in 1O03. Horace Brown is the 
present incumbent. The capital stock is $100,- 

The Manufacturers' National bank began busi- 
ness January 2, 1889. and its growth has been 
phenomenal. Its presidents have been Qiarles O. 
Upton. W. F. Barnes and Norman F. Thompson. 

The Forest City is the youngest bank in the 
city and opened its doors June 7, 1890. John D. 
Waterman has been president from the first, and 
Paul F. Schuster was its cashier fifteen years. 
The bank has a capital of $100,000. 

Three of these banks increased their capi- 
tal stock in 1904. The Winnebago now has a cap- 
ital stock of $250,000. The Manufacturers' in- 
creased from $125,000 to $200,000: while the 
Third National increased from $100,000 to 

The total capitalization of the Rockford banks 
is now $1,025,000. 


One of the greatest institutions in this day of 
great things is the daily newspaper. Its evolution 
has been most rapid. Even Horace Greeley, the 
Nestor of American journalism, if he were per- 
mitted to come back to earth, would be ill at ease 
in his old profession. The fast presses, printing 
many thousands an hour, the linotype and other 
inventions that work almost with the precision of 
the human mind, have produced results far beyond 
the wildest dreams of half a century ago. Jules 
Verne's fantastic stories are scarcely more won- 
derful. Indeed. \'erne was something of a pro- 
phet, for in other lines of progress some of his 
fancies have been realized in fact. 

The scope of the daily newspaper has become 
greatly enlarged. By the constantly increased use 

of illustrations, and the introduction of "fea- 
tures." the newspaper has encroached upon the 
domain of the magazine. The religious journal 
has also felt the growing prestige of the daily. As 
in ancient Rome, the Pantheon was dedicated to 
the worship of all the gods, so the newspaper of 
today meets the needs of all the people. Interur- 
ban lines of railway and the rural route have 
brought the morning and evening news to the 
door of the farmer. The special correspondent 
has traversed all parts of the globe, and is now 
sighing for other worlds to conquer. 

It was said in the olden time. "Despise not the 
day of small things." The story of the news- 
papers of Rockford. daily, weekly and monthly, 
is replete with interest, and will now be told in 

The first newspaper published in Winnebago 
county was the Rock River Express. Its publi- 
cation began in Rockford May 5. 1840, by B. J. 
Gray. In politics it was whig of the most radical 
type. In a village of perhaps three hundred in- 
habitants there was very little of a local nature 
that could be published. The primary purpose of 
the paper's existence seems to have been to pro- 
mote the election of William Henry Harrison to 
the presidency. Its ambition was satisfied, but 
after it had been published one year the press and 
]-irinting material were sold and removed from 
the village. A file of this paper, nearly complete, 
has been preserved in the public library. 

The Rockford Star was founded in the autumn 
of 1840, as a democratic paper. The printing ma- 
terial was owned by Daniel S. Haight, Daniel 
Howell and Adam Keith. The office was located 
on the southeast corner of IVIadison and Market 
streets, in the building erected by Mr. Haight for 
religious, court, and other purposes. This old 
building still shelters one of the craft, William G. 
Conick. on North First street. The editor. Phil- 
ander Knappen. was simply a tenant. J. H. 
Thurston was the "devil" in the office, a role 
which, according to his own statement, he was 
eminently qualified to fill. He also became quite 
an expert compositor. Air. Thurston subsequent- 
ly obtained employment on John Wentworth's 
paper, the Chicago Democrat, on the strength of 
a letter of Mr. Knappen. to the effect that he was 
a rapid compositor, could set a clean proof, and 
could sometimes make sense from Knappen's own 

April 28, 1841. the editor of the Star was mar- 
ried to Miss Eliza Simons, of Harlem. Mr. 
Knappen sent a special invitation to "Long John" 
Wentworth. of Chicago. Mr. Wentworth had 
already started on one of his frequent trips to 
Rockford. and he expressed his congratulations 
by following the bride and groom all the evening 
with a tallow dip in his extended hand, which 
reached nearly to the ceiling. 



Mr. Knappen had been in Rockford but a short 
time when the Driscoll tragedy occurred as a 
chmax to the career of the "bandits of the prairie" 
in northern Ilhnois. Mr. Knappen did not un- 
derstand tiie temper of the people : and his strongs 
denunciation of the summary execution (if the 
outlaws aroused intense indii^nation. Tlie citizens 
proposed to punish the editor. Soon after the 
issue of the paper, the office of the Star was en- 
tered in the nijjht and the type reduced to pi. 
When the editor beheld this "wreck of matter" 
he stirred the pi with a stove shovel, and mixed 
the fonts of type in every case in the office. Mr. 
KnajJiK'n turned over the subscri]nion list to Mr. 
Howell, of the Rockford House, wliere the office 
force boarded, and abandoned journalism in this 
una])preciative villajje. Mr. Howell did not real- 
ize anything: from the assets placed in his hands. 
Thirty years later Mr. Thurston divul.sjcd the 
fact that D. S. Haigflit. Charles Latimer and 
Adam Keith were the i)eri)etrators of the mis- 
chief. The democratic huninary had been side- 
tracked in its orbit. 

The Rockford Pilot be.cjan its brief career July 
22, 1841. Mr. Thurston .says he helped distril)ute 
the Star pi, and with this material assisted in is- 
suing the first four numbers of its successor. The 
Pilot was published as a democratic paper until 
October, 1842. It could no longer steer clear of 
the rocks. The editor. John A. P>rown. had been 
defeated for representative ; the democrats had 
sustained a local defeat of their entire ticket, and 
on the 30th of October the last number of the 
Pilot was issued. 

The Better Covenant, a I'niversalist ])apor. was 
printed at the Pilot office during a i)ortion of tliis 
period. Its editor was William Rounsevilie. 

Februan- 17. 1843. J. .\mbrose W^ight bc.gan 
the publication of the Winnebago Forum, a whig 
paper, with material which had been used in 
printing the Rockford Star. Mr. Wight was a 
graduate of Williams college, and first came to 
Winnebago county in 1836. He was a brother of 
Jaiues M. W'iglit. with whom he read law for a 
time. Mr. Wi.ght retired from the Forum .\u- 
gust 18. 1843. when he sold the jiaper to .\ustin 
^I. Colton. The terms were easv. Mr. Wight 
said: "He asked me my price. I told him if he 
would take it off my hands, we would be square." 
Mr. Colton was more. successful than anv of his 
])redecessors in the local newspai)er field, and his 
])lace in local history is that of the best known 
"country editor" of the old school. Mr. Colton 
continued the paper under the old name until the 
close of the first volume, in Fcbruarv, 1844, when 
it was rechristened the Rockford Forum. .After 
Mr. Colton had "written for glory and printed 
on trust" for ten years, he .sold the paper to E. 
W. niaisdell. Jr., who came to Rockford in the 
latter part of 1853. In January of 1854 the new 

proprietor changed the name of the Forum to 
the Reiniblican, and took his brother, Richard P. 
Blaisdell. into partncrshi]). The Republican was 
])ublished until 1862, when it was purchased by 
Klias C. Daugherty, and merged into the Rock- 
ford Re.gister, of which he was proprietor. 

In Se|)tember, 184S. Henry W. De Puy estab- 
lished the Rockford Free Press, as a Free Soil 
or Barnburner organ. It was published until 
February, 1850, when it was discontinued for 
want of patronage. 

The Rock River Democrat was founded in 
June. 1852. as a democratic paper, by Benjamin 
Holt. David T. Dickson afterward [nirchased 
an interest. In 1855 Rhenodyne A. Bird became 
Mr. Holt's successor. The paper was published 
by Dickson & Bird until May 1, 1864. It was 
then purchased by Isaiah S. Hyatt, who contin- 
ued its publication until June 12, 1865. when the 
plant was sold to the Register company. 

The Rockford Register was founded by E. C. 
Daugherty in l\-bruary, 1855. There were al- 
ready two weekly papers in the field, the Repub- 
lican and the Democrat. But Mr. Daugherty was 
confident there was always room at the top. In 
his prospectus Mr. Daugherty said he had "se- 
lected the flourishing and beautiful city of Rock- 
ford as his future home, believing the field ample 
for a new aspirant to ])ublic favor.' 

-Mr. Daugherty had in him the elements of the 
reformer, and he founded the Register as a strong" 
opi)onent of the extension of slavery. He made 
a declaration of his principles in the following 
paragraph of his prospectus : 

"In the present confused state of political ])ar- 
ties and issues we need not promise further as to 
the ])olitical course of the Register than that, 
while our sympathies are, as ever, with the cardi- 
nal doctrines and faith of the whig party, we shall 
also earnestly lend our humble efforts and influ- 
ence to check the aggressive encroachments of 
southern dictation and overthrow the monopoly of 
slave ])ower — endeavoring by all honorable means 
to advance the interests and sustain the true issues 
of freedom. We are not among those, however, 
who believe all the honesty and intelligence be- 
long to either of the great political parties, and 
shall be as free to commend a political o])]ionent 
when right as to condemn one of our faith when 
wrong — according the right of free opinion to 
all. We may also say lure, the Re.gister will be 
the organ of no cli(|ue or club, but will he inde- 
pendently its own exi>onent." 

Concerning the business side of the enterprise, 
the prospectus continued : 

"The paper will be styled the 'Rockford Regis- 
ter' and will be |)rinted weekly, upon new type 
and good quality of paper, seven columns to the 
page, at $1.50 per annum in advance, or $2,00 at 
the end of the vear. Citv subscribers, whose 



papers are delivered by the carrier, will be 
charged fifty cents additional." 

Commencing with a limited capital, and con- 
tending against strong opposition. Air. Daugh- 
erty lived to see both the original rival papers, 
and others, merged into the Register, which be- 
came a strong and intluential paper. The Regis- 
ter absorbed other papers representing an almost 
unbroken line since 1840. June i, 1859, Air. 
Daugherty began the publication of the Dailv 
Register ; but it was discontinued at the end of 
three months. In June, 1865, the Rock River 
Democrat was merged with the Register, which 
passed into the hands of a joint stock company. 
The impaired health of Mr. Daugherty compelled 
him to retire from active business life. I. S. 
Hyatt, who had at two previous periods been 
connected with the paper, as assistant editor, and 
later the proprietor of the Rock River Demo- 
crat, became, under the new management, the 
principal editor with E. H. Griggs as associate. 

By reason of breaks in the files, the record of 
changes in the management of the Register may 
not be absolutely complete. The possible 
omissions, however, do not cover more than one 
or two years. 

June 30, 1866, Air. Hyatt resigned his posi- 
tion as editor, and was succeeded by E. C. Daugh- 
erty, who retained the editorial charge of the 
pajjer until February 23, 1867, when the condi- 
tion of his health forced him to retire. Abraham 
E. and William E. Smith, former proprietors of 
the Indianapolis Gazette, became associated with 
E. H. Griggs in the management of the Register. 
These gentlemen retired June 29, 1867. Air. 
Griggs became editor and manager, with J. E. 
Fox as associate. This management continued 
until October 7, 1871, when the name of S. M. 
Daugherty, widow of the founder of the paper, 
appeared as proprietor. Tlie following week the 
Register announced that P. S. Alartin was busi- 
ness manager. 

January 6, 1873, Geo. E. Wright & Co. began 
the publication of the Daily Register. It was a 
morning paper, with no Sunday edition. Alarch 
13, 1873, Cliarles J. Woodbury & Co. assumed 
the management. Air. Woodbury was a half- 
brother of Rev. Frank P. Woodbury. D. D.. 
pastor of the Second Congregational church. Dr. 
Woodbury had the editorial instinct, and rendered 
some assistance in an editorial way. November 
8, 1873, the Register was changed from a morn- 
ing to an evening paper. But the time had not 
come for the success of such a venture, and on 
February 10, 1874, the daily was discontinued. 

Aoril 16, 1875, the names of N. D. \\'right and 
Al. CoUaton appear as members of the Register 
company. In January of the following year Mr. 
Wright was editor-in-chief. 

July 2-j. 1877. the Register was issued under 

the management of N. D. Wright and C. L. Mil- 
ler. The latter had come to Rockford from 
Rochelle, where he had been connected with a 
weekly paper, 

October i, 1877, the Rockford Daily Register 
was started upon a permanent basis by Messrs, 
Wright and Aliller, with E. C. Chandler as city 
editor. A few months later E. M. Botsford ac- 
cepted a reportorial position, and in 1881 he pur- 
chased an interest. \\'. P. Lamb subsequently be- 
came a third partner. 

The firm of Miller, Botsford & Co., continued 
in the management until January I, 1891, when 
Edgar E. Bartlett, W. L. Eaton and Eugene Mc- 
Sweeney, all of Kalamazoo, Alichigan, purchased 
the good will of the Daily Register and Daily 
Gazette, and consolidated them under the firm 
name of the Register-Gazette. 

In 1898 Mr. Bartlett purchased the interest of 
Air. AlcSweeney, and in 1901 he purchased Mr. 
Eaton's interest. In the autumn of that year Mr. 
Bartlett sold a part interest to Archibald S. 
Leckie, of Chicago, who became managing editor. 

Two years later, in October, 1903, Fred E. 
Sterling purchased Air. Leckie's interest, and be- 
came manager of the editorial department. 

The Rockford Wesleyan Seminary Reporter 
was begun as a monthly publication in October, 
1857. Only four numbers were issued. It was 
published by Rev. W. F. Stewart in the interest 
of the proposed Wesleyan seminary. 

The first number of the Cudgel was issued 
January 17, 1857. It bore this legend on its title- 
page: "Published somewhere, circulates every- 
where, edited nowhere." It was published semi- 
monthly, but only seven numbers were printed. 

Dr. George Haskell began the publication of 
the Spirit' Advocate April 15. 1854. It was an 
able propagandist of spiritualism. Twenty-three 
numbers were published when it was consolidated 
with the Orient, with headquarters at Waukegan. 
The last number of the Advocate appeared Alarch 
15. 1856. A complete file of this paper has been 
preserved in the Rockford public library. 

The Democratic Standard was founded October 
30, 1858, by Springsteen & Parks, as a democratic 
organ. After about a month, the Standard was 
published by Parks alone, until February 5, 1859, 
when David G. Croly became proprietor. On the 
1 8th of Alay following the proprietorship was 
changed to D. G. Croly & Co. The company was 
John H. Grove. On the suspension of the News 
April 30, i860, and the retirement of Mr. Croly 
the publication of the Standard was continued by 
John H. Grove and James S. Ticknor for a few 
months. The paper was then sold to James E. 
and Joseph H. Fox, who established the Daily 
News. It was a republican paper, and the first 
number was issued in December, i860. A few 
weeks later they began the publication of the 



Weekly N'ews. which was continued until Sep- 
tember 21. 1861. The plant was then sold to E. 
C. Daugfherty, and its publication was discon- 

.\ii earlier pa])er, also called the Daily Xews. 
was established by David G. Croly, February 8, 
1859. The paper was neutral in politics. Its 
])nl)lication was continued until .\pril 30, i860, 
when it was suspended for want of patronaije. 

Mr. and Mrs. Croly won national re]>utation in 
journalism and letters after their departure from 
Rockford. Mr. Croly became city editor of the 
New York World and later was its managing 
editor. He was the author of biographies of 
Horatio Seymour and Francis P. Pdair, a History 
of Reconstruction and a Primer of Positivism. 
He died in 1889. 

The Crescent Age was founded in 1859. Its 
editors were Dr. George Haskell and H. P. Kim- 
ball. It was a .Spiritualist ])ublication. and lived 
only a short time. 

The Rock River Mirror was established Sep- 
tember 6, 1859, by Allen Gib.son. It was neutral 
in ]>olitics and was printed at the Register office. 
Later the name of X. C. Thompson appeared as 
associate editor, and still later the proprietors were 
-Allen Gibson and E. D. Marsh. 

The People's Press was established July 2~,. 
1865. by W. P. Furey, who published it until 
May. 1866. when a joint stock company was or- 
ganized, which continued its publication until 
September i, 1866, when it was suspended from 
lack of patronage. 

\\'ords for Jesus, a monthly religious ])ublica- 
tion, was started in October. 1867, by Thomas J. 
and Hugh Lamont. 

Leaves from Forest Hill, a monthly, was ]nil)- 
lishcd for some time during the school year, by 
the yoimg ladies of Rockford Seminary. 

The Rockford Gazette was founded November 
22, 1866, by I. S. Hyatt, as a small advertising 
sheet. It prospered to such an extent that in the 
following .'\pril it was greatly enlarged, .\pril 
25, 1867, the name of Benjamin I'oltz appeared 
as editor, .\ugust 29, 1867, the Gazette was 
issued with the names of Abraham F. and Wil- 
liam E. Smith as proprietors. This partnership 
continued for some years. In 1878 the publishers 
began a semi-weekly edition, and .\ugust 4, 1879, 
the Gazette was issued as a daily, and became 
valuable newspaper property. In 1882 Mr. 
Smith admitted Col. F. .\. Eastman, of Chicago, 
as a ])artner. This partnership was dissfilved the 
following year, and Mr. .Smith continued as sole 
])roprietor until January, i8(;i, when the iiajjcr 
was merged into the Register-Gazette. 

The Winnebago Chief was started X'ovcmber 
21, 1866, by J. P. Irvine as editor and proprietor. 
July 3, 1867, Hiram R. Enoch was admitted as 
a partner, and the name of the pajier was changed 

to the Winnebago County Chief. Mr. Irvine sub- 
.setjuently retired, and Mr. Enoch remained sole 
proprietor until December, 1882, when the journal 
jiassed into the hands of Foote & Kimball. In 
March, 1883, the paper was sold to D. Miller & 
Co., who published it three years. In March, 
1886, a Mr. Gardner, from the southern part of 
the state, purchased a half interest. This part- 
nershij) was dissolved, Mr. Gardner taking the 
jf)l) department, and D. Miller & Co. retaining 
the subscription list and business of the paper. 
In -Vugust. 1887, the journal was .sold to Hon. 
J. Stanley Browne, by whom its publication was 
continued until the good will and subscrijition list 
became the property of the Rockford Morning 
Star company. 

The Golden Censer was founded Alay i, 1868. 
by John Lcnile\'. It was an undenominational 
religious and family paper. It was first issued 
semi-monthly, and subse(|uently changed to a 
week!\. X'^ovember i, 1877, the pa]xT passed into 
the hands of a .stock company. The principal 
stockholders were O. R. Brouse. Rev. C. E. 
.Mandevillc, and X'. E. Lyman, who was then 
l)resident of the People's bank. The Censer, 
under this management, attained a circulation of 
eighteen thousand, the largest ever reached bv a 
Rockford ])aper. In time, however, the circu- 
lation was greatly reduced, until .August. 1896, 
when the Censer, with barely two thousand sub- 
scribers, was indefinitelv suspendcil. In March, 
i8(;7, the Calvert Brothers purchased the good 
will and material and resumed publication, with 
Charles A. Church as editor. The policy of the 
Censer was greatly changed, and an able corps 
of local contributors was secured. In less than 
one year the circulation advanced to six thousand. 
P>ut this number did not make the paper self- 
sustaining. In .April, 1898, Charles .\. Church 
became sole proprietor. June ist of the same 
year the good will of the paper was sold to the 
Ram's Horn of Chicago. 

The Christian ( lleaner. a monthly, was pub- 
lished at the Censer office for some years. It was 
made up of selections from the Censer, and con- 
tained very little original matter. The subscrip- 
tion list was absorbed by the Censer about i8(>i. 

The Rockford Daily Journal was started in 
.\ugust, 1870, by Lumley & Carpenter. It lived 
two days. 

.\ndrus' Illustrated Monthlv was founded in 
January, 1872, by D. A. K. and W. D. E. 
.\ndrus. It was discontinued in September. 1873. 

The Methodist Free Press was started by John 
Lemley in September, 1872, and was continued 
until January, 1875. 

\'ol. I, Xo. I, of the Curiosity Hunter was 
issued in September, 1872, as a monthly by D. A. 
K. .\ndrus. and was continued until July. 1874. 
In 1876 it was resumed at Belvidere. 



Nowadays was launched by E. C. Chandler & 
Co., January i, 1874. Only one number was 

The Rockford Sunday Herald was started May 
II, 1879, by E. C. Chandler. It was discontinued 
December 21, 1879. 

The People's Champion was launched by E, 
W. Blaisdell, September 29, 1880. Only five num- 
bers were issued. 

Our Home and Science Gossip was started by 
D. A. K. Andrus in March, 1881, and was con- 
tinued about two years. 

The Rockford Seminary Magazine was founded 
in January, 1873, with the name of Caroline A. 
Potter, class of 1855, as editor. The first num- 
ber contained forty pages. In later years the 
magazine was edited by the senior class. After 
the seminary was raised to the rank of a college, 
in 1 89 1 tlie name of the paper was changed to 
the Rockford Collegian. Its publication was dis- 
continued in 1895. 

One number of the Stamp News was issued in 
1873 by D. .'\. K. Andrus. 

The Rockford Industrial Times began a brief 
career in February, 1874, with W. F. Barrows as 
editor. A few months later the name was 
changed to the Hornet. The second volume be- 
gan with a second change in name, the Rockford 
Times. John R. Coursen and Fred Dayton were 
the proprietors. The issue of August 4, 1875, an- 
nounced that Mr. Coursen had sold his interest to 
Louis A. Manlove. There is a complete file of 
the Times in the public library for two years end- 
ing February 16, 1876. 

The first number of the Rockford Daily News 
was issued January 26, 1878, by D. A. K. Andrus. 
Geo. W. Sherer and F. O. Bennett. Sunday 
morning, June 3, 1878, the Daily News created 
a great sensation by publishing a harrowing story 
of a communist attack upon the government. 
When it was learned that the story had no founda- 
tion in fact. Mayor Watson ordered the office 
closed by the city marshal. After many changes 
the Daily News suspended publication in i )cto- 
ber, 1880. 

The Western Banner was established as a tem- 
perance paper in 1878, by J. E. Hampton. F. Wil- 
son and H. S. Wilbur. The paper was printed 
on a hand press in the office of the Rockford 
Journal. It died December 19, 1878. 

The Morning Herald was started June 11. 
1 88 1, bv Miller & Welch. It was published until 
October. 1882. 

The Rockford Furniture Journal was founded 
in 1888. A leading spirit in the agitation for a 
trade paper was the late Lyon P. Ross, who was 
then secretary of the Forest City furniture fac- 
tory. The Furniture Journal company was or- 
ganized, in which A. F. Judd and George W. 
Sherer were the principal stockholders. The 

Journal was published monthly nearly two years, 
when the subscription list and good will of the 
paper were sold to Abraham E. Smith. About 
1894 Mr. Smith sold an interest to P. D. Francis, 
and a year or two later, he sold his remaining 
interest to J. Newton Nind. Messrs. Francis and 
Nind continued its publication for some years in 
Rockford. In the meantime other trade papers 
were purchased and consolidated. The publica- 
tion office was removed to Chicago, and the Jour- 
nal, now a semi-monthly, is one of the most pros- 
perous trade papers in the west. 

The Monitor, a weekly publication in the in- 
terest of the prohibition party, issued its first 
number in May, 1885. It was published by the 
Prohibition company, with James Lamont as sec- 
retary and editor. In 1890 the Monitor was sold 
to James Lamont and Charles M. Whipple. Its 
publication was continued by the Monitor Pub- 
lishing company until July, 1897, when, owing to 
business troubles the Alonitor suspended. 

The Oiicago Lever was purchased in 1892 by 
the Monitor Publishing company and brought to 
Rockford. It was published each Thursday and 
was a national organ of the prohibition party. 
James Lamont was editor. In July, 1897, the 
Lever was sold to James Lamont and Liberty 
Walkup, who in February, 1899, sold it to DicKie 
& Woolley, and the office of publication was 
transferred to Chicago. In September, 1899, 't 
was merged with the New Voice of Chicago. 

The Rockford Morning Star is the first suc- 
cessful morning newspaper published in the city. 
Hon. J. Stanley Browne, the editor-in-chief, came 
to Rockford in 1887. He had served two terms 
as democratic member of the New York legis- 
lature from Otsego county, and for five years was 
secretar\- to Lieutenant Governor Dorscheimer, 
when Samuel J. Tilden was governor. Mr. 
Browne's first newspaper work in Rockford was 
in 1887, when he became editor and publisher 
of the Rockford Journal. In the following spring 
a stock company was organized for the publica- 
tion of the Morning Star, and March 20th the 
first number was issued. Many changes have 
been made in the business and reportorial staff, 
but, with a brief interim. Mr. Browne has been 
the managing editor from the first. 

The Farmer's Monthly was started by A. E. 
Smith, and sold to Messrs. Bartlett, Eaton and 
McSweeney, and was published by them for 
several years. 

In the spring of 1890 the Republican company 
was organized with a capital of $10,000, of which 
about $7,000 was paid in. The first board of 
directors was as follows : W. H. Worthington, 
H. H. Robinson, H. C. Scovill. W. G. Conick, 
H. O. Hilton, W. J. Johnson, Harry Marean, C. 
H. Godfrey, J. A. Johnson. The first number of 
the Republican was issued April 10, 1890, with H. 



O. Hilton as t-ilitor : Harry Marcan. business 
manager, and Will J. Jolinson. city editor. The 
Republican was a morning daily, witliout a .Sun- 
day edition. In politics tlic pajK-r was radical 
republican. In 1893 C. D. .Allyn. who bad been 
on the staff of the old Daily Ciaz.ette. purchased an 
interest, and the company issued an evening edi- 
tion. There were several changes in the business 
management. Mr. Marean being succeeded in turn 
bv Will I. Johnson. W. H. Worthington and C. 
D. .-Mlyn! In 18./) Charles L. .Miller. Harry M. 
Johnson and John E. Warfield jjurchased a con- 
trolling interest in the plant, ancl these gentlemen 
are still the owners of the paper. The name was 
changed to the Republic. 

The Sunday Mercury, started in December. 
1890. bv C. H. Seiders and Alex Majors, was a 
creditable weekly paper, but only a few numbers 
were iniblished. 

In 1892 Charles A. Church organized a stock 
com]5any. with a capital of $5,000, for the ])uhli- 
cation of the .Spectator. Abraham E. Smith was 
business manager, and the pajier was printed in 
the office of the Smith Publishing company. The 
first number was issued May 21, 1892. The 
Spectator was strictly a literary and family paper 
of sixteen pages, with an able corps of contribut- 
ors. .\mong the latter were the late Mrs. Eva 
T. Clark. Mrs. Marie T. Perry. Mrs. Caroline 
A. P. P.razee. Mrs. Mary L'rquhart T-ee. Mrs. 
H. M. Johnson. Hon. Gias. E. Fuller, of Relvi- 
dere, and the Rev. C. H. Moscrip. of Rockford. 
From a literary point of view, the Spectator was 
eminently successful, but the expense of maintain- 
ing it was far beyond the receipts that a new 
paper of its kind was able to command. .After 
one year the distinctive features of the Si)ectator 
were abandoned and the paper was issued as a 
daily. The first number appeared May 15. 1893. 
Tlic financial stringency which came so suddenly 
upon the country during the summer seriously 
embarrassed the princi|)al stockholders of the 
Smith Publishing company, which had absorbed 
the .Spectator com]>any. and in .August. i8(;3. the 
daily was su.spended. The following autumn the 
publication of the Spectator was resumed as a 
local weekly, and continued until the spring of 
1805. when the subscription list was sold to the 
Monitor company. 

The Weekly Recorder was started in Mav. 
189^). by Will J. Johnson. It kept up a spirited 
existence until October. 1899. when the paper was 
sold to H. O. Hilton, who issued a few numbers, 
and about Jaiuiary ist the paper was discontinued. 

The Owl has been published nearly everv vear 
since 1885 as the paper of the Rockford high 
.school. The editor, business manager and staff 
have been chosen each year from the senior class. 

The Rockford Review was issued in June. 1S91. 
by the Forest City Publishing company. It was 
later merged with the Furniture Journal. 

Winnebago County Schools was started by 
.^ui)t. C. J. Kinnie in 1886. and was continued for 
a short time. 

The .\gricultural West launched by Don. 
Xeedham in March. 1884. but was soon discon- 

\'ol. I. Xo. I. of the Rockford Labor Juurnal 
was issued July 9. 1898. It had a brief career. 

One number of the Constitution was issued 
.August 25, 1890. 

Journal of Practical Xursing was started in 
1888. It was edited by L. C. Brown. M. D. 

The Rockford .Air Brush was started in 1891, 
in the interest of the company of that name. 

The Cnion Printer made its first appearance 
.April 25, 1898. 

The People's Journal made its first appearance 
September 21. 1894. It was published by the 
Calvert I'rothers. 

The -Advocate was launched in December. 
18S4. by W. G. Dustin. in the interest of real 

The Rockford Chief was pulilished for a time 
bv Mrs. E. Hertherington, beginning October 22, 

The Riickfiird I'nion Record was .started Oc- 
tober 31. 1003. by John W. .Asjiegren. It is 
])ublishe(I in the interest of organized labor. 

The Forest City was published for a time in 
1S95-96 by Tomblin I'rothers. 

The Hammer, published by Dr. E. S. Tebbetts 
in the interest of socialism, has ceased to exist. 

The large Swedish population of Rockford has 
created a demand for a newspaper published in 
the language of the fatherland. Several attempts 
have been made to sujiply this need. 

Xva Sverige was started in March. 1872. by 
.A. \\'. Schalin. It lived but a short time. 

Rockford's AUehanda was established June 18, 
1884, bv Otto Pallin. The name was changed to 
Sveiiska Fria-Fressen. It was published by C. 
I""l)l)eser.. about four years. 

Jaiuiarv 4. 1889. Mr. Fbbesen launched another 
paper, the Posten. It was jjublished in the Crotty 
i)lock on East State street. Subsequently the 
jniblication oflice was removed to the I'nion 
block, on Kishwaukee street, where it has since 
been published. .Mr. Ebbesen was succeeded in 
turn bv C. J. Sjostrom. Fred Swenson. and Prof. 
C. .A. Wendell. The present editor is Mr. Linden. 

Joltomten. by C. Ebbesen. was ])ublished Satur- 
days, 1st, 8th, 15th and 22(\ of December. 1888. 

RockfonKs Harold was established by Magnus 
Larson. .Apriri2, 1902. One number was issued. 

Framtiden was first issued .April 13. 1892. by 
the I'ramtiden Publishing company. It was pub- 
lished three or four years. 

I"or.skaren was started September 4. 181)3, by 
E. I'iellander and F. Malmc|uist. 

Folkets Rost was issued by Charles Henry. 
March 18, 1895. Four numbers were published. 



Framat was started l)v Swenson & Bjork, Sep- 
tember 15, 1903. 

The German population of Rockford has never 
been large, yet it has for many years supported 
a church and a newspaper. The Germania was 
founded as a four-page weekly by John Pingle in 
1885. The present proprietor is Herr Ferd 
Stedinger, who for many years has been in- 
stritctor in Gemian at the Rockford high school. 

The foregoing is believed to be the first com- 
plete story of Rockford newspapers ever pub- 
lished. The list might be continued by the men- 
tion of various monthly bulletins issued by the 
churches from time to time, the Y. M. C. A., the 
Business college, and similar organizations. While 
these performed a legitimate function in their 
way. they scarcely have a place in the chronicle 
of Rockford newspapers. 

The press of Rockford has not been the ex- 
clusive purveyor of local news. .Several news- 
papers have been started in the other towns of 
the comity. 

The Rockton Gazette was established at Rock- 
ton in 1857, by Funk & Phelps. j\Ir. Funk re- 
tired and the paper was continued about one year 
bv H. W. Pheljis. The office and fixtures were 
removed to Burlington, Wisconsin. 

The Pecatonica Independent was established in 
May, 1859, by J. E. Duncan. It was published 
about one year, when the office was removed to 
Darlington, Wisconsin. 

The Pecatonica News was started as a weekly 
newspaper December I. 1872. A\'. A. and Nate 
L. Colby were editors and proprietors. January 
I, 1881, W. A. Colby sold his interest to his 
brother, who continued its publication up to the 
time of his death, July 11, 1904. Gilbert F., a 
son of N. L. Colby, is now editor and manager 
for the estate. 

The Winnebago Reflector was established Feb- 
ruary II, 1887, published by the Winnebago C. 
L. S. C. C. F. Trittle is the present publisher. 

The Rockton Weekly Echo was established De- 
cember 15, 1887. L. H. Cook was editor and 
publisher. There was only one issue. 

The Cherry X'alley Courier was established 
in July. 1869, by Dr. L. Foote, editor and pub- 
lisher. It was published three months. 

The newspaper enterprises of Duraiid are as 
follows : 

Winnebago Countv Advertiser, established in 
1869 by 1\L G. Sheldon. 

Durand Argus, established December 29, 1883, 
by E. E. Pettingill. 

Durand Free Press, established Alarch 24. 
1888, by Johnson Potter. 

Durand Weekly Echo, established June 30, 
1887, by L. H. Cook, editor and publisher: thirty 
numbers issued. 

Durand Weekly Times, established February 

7, 1890, by E. E. Pettingill. publisher ; seven num- 
bers issued. 

Durand Record, established April 30, 1890, by 
John R. Bertsch. Discontinued August i. 1890. 

Durand Weekly Clipper, established April 17, 
1891, by E. I. Schoolcraft; still published by W, 
H. Tousley. 


The Illinois, Iowa & Alinnesota Railway com- 
pany was incorporated under the laws of Illinois 
in December, 1902. The line was completed from 
Alomence to Rockford about October I, 1905. A 
line has been projected for 1906 from Peotone, 
Illinois, to Michigan City, Indiana, a distance of 
seventy-five miles ; from Rockford to Janesville, 
thirty miles ; and from Kirkland, Illinois, to 
Milwaukee, a distance of eighty miles. 

The mileage operated October i, 1905, was as 
follows : Rockford to Aurora, sixty-six miles ; 
Joliet to ]\Iomence, thirty-five miles. The com- 
pany has trackage rights over the E. J. & E., 
.Vurora to Joliet, twenty-four miles : total mileage, 
one hundred and twenty-five miles. The guage 
is four feet and eight and one-half inches. 
Seventy-pound street rails have been used in con- 

The following is a statement of finances ; Oc- 
tober I, 1905, the capital stock, $5,000,000 in 
$100 shares had all been paid in. A mortgage has 
been executed to the Illinois Trust and Savings 
bank. Chicago, as trustee, securing an issue of 
$5,000,000 first mortgage, five per cent, forty-year 
gold $1,000 bonds, due March i, 1944, with 
interest maturing March ist and September ist 
at the office of the trustee. Of this amount 
$3,000,000 has already been issued. The bonds 
are limited in issue to $30,000 per mile of main 
track, and are secured by first mortgage on all 
lines constructed or to be constructed, now owned 
or hereafter to be acquired within the counties in 
Illinois named in its charter ; also any line or 
lines of railroad which may be constructed under 
any amendment of the charter, together with all 
branches and au.xiliary lines, all charters, fran- 
chises, etc., and all other property of the com- 
pany except telegraph and telephone lines. Of 
this amount it is provided that $4,000,000 may 
be issued at once under the terms of the deed of 
trust, the remaining $1,000,000 being reserved for 
the purpose of construction of additional lines. 
The entire issue of those bonds is subject to re- 
demption at $1.07 and accrued interest on an}^ 
first day of September or March after March i, 
1909, provided that notice of such intention to 
redeem be given at least six months before the 
date selected for such payment by publication at 
least once in each week for three months, be- 
ginning not less than six nor more than seven 



months before the day of redemption in one Chi- 
cago and one New York daily newspaper. 

The directors of the road are H. \V. Seaman. 
J. C. Duffin. W. F. McSwiney. Chicago; J. C. 
V'^an Riper. Edwards W'hitaker and S. W. 
Fordyce. of St. Louis. 

The road was christened the "Rnckford Route" 
in October, 1904, at which time the trademark 
was adopted. 

There was a rumor current at the time this 
manuscript was prepared for tlie press that the 
Chicago Great Western Railway comiiany would 
run through passenger trains over the new line 
of the I. I. & M.. between Chicago and Rockford 
througli Sycamore, via Wilkinson Crossing, five 
miles west of Sycamore. 



The Court Street Methodist church was or- 
ganized January' i. 1852. Its first house of 
worship on North Court street was dedicated in 
November. 1854. at a cost of $7,000. The first 
])astor was Rev. Chatfield. His successors have 
been Revs. W. F. Stewart. Luman .\. Sanford. 
Wm. P. Grav, James R. Goodrich, W'm. E. 
Daniels. T. B. Taylor. J. H. \'incent. V. V. Cleve- 
land. T. C. Clendenning. L. .Meredith. W. Aug. 
Smith. C. E. Mandevi'lle. T. P. Marsh. T. R. 
Strobridge. P. H. Swift. W. A. Philliiis. W. O. 
Shepard. Fred H. Sheets. Rfibert H. Pooley. and 
Frank D. Sheets. The present house of worship 
was dedicated in May. 1887. The site for the 
parsonage was purchased from the Horsman es- 
tate in 1884, and the house was completed in Oc- 
tober of the same vear. The total value of the 
church property is $65,000. The membership re- 
ported to the annual conference in October. 1904. 
was 957. 


Information concerning the early history of St. 
James Catholic church is very meager. Tlie 
records are said to have been destroyed in the 
Chicago fire of 1871. Mass was celebrated in 
the hoines of Catholic settlers in Rockford by 
priests located at New Dublin and Freeport pre- 
vious to 1850. Father Gueguen said mass and 
baptized children in 1840. The ])ermanent or- 
ganization dates from 1850. After ])urchasing 
lots Father Hampston was appointed priest of 
the parish in 1851, by P.ishop \'an de \'elle. He 
was the first resident pastor, and built the first 
church in 1852. Father Hampston died while in 
charge of the parish, and is buried under the 
l)resent church. The present St. James church 
was begun in 1866. and dedicated the following 
year under the pastf)rate of Rev. J. S. O'Neill. 
The pastors of St. James' church have been as 

follows : Revs. John Hampston, George Hamil- 
ton. William Lambert. J. Bulger, John P. Done- 
Ian. J. S. O'Neill. Joseph McMahoii. T. J. Butler, 
and James J. I'^laherty. Father Flaherty has been 
in charge of the parish twenty years, and is thus 
the oldest ])astor in the city in continuous service. 
He .started the parochial school in 1886. and in 
1891 com])leted the present brick structure at a 
cost of $17,000. The deanery was erected in 1878 
by Dean Butler and cost $8,000. St. James church 
has expended $68,000 in church property. The 
])resent membership is about 1.300. 


The Presbyterians of early Rockford worshiped 
with the Congregationalists for several years. 
.\ftcr holding services in various places the little 
company of Presbyterians was formally organized 
July 8. 1834. Rev. Hugh A. Brown was the 
first stated supply, and served until January i, 
1858. when Rev. John M. Paris was called. Rev. 
I'^aris' pastorate continued until (Jctober. 1862. 
His successors have been Revs. Faunt Leroy 
Senour. J. S. Grimes. .A. J. Leyenberger (now 
shortened to Berger). James Cruickshanks. J. K. 
Fowler. J. R. Sutherland. George Harkness. B. 
E. .S. Ely. The latter has now been upon the field 
eleven years. In September following the or- 
ganization, the congregation worshiped in the 
old I'nitarian church, on the northeast corner of 
Elm and C'hurch streets, and in 1855 the Uni- 
tarian ])ro])erty was purchased. The .society used 
it for a time on the old site, and then removed it 
to the northeast corner of State and Winnebago 
streets, where the church continued to worship 
until December 20. 1868, when it took possession 
of its ]irescnt house of worship. In 1904 the 
church purchased the projjcrty on the corner of 
North .Slain and North streets, owned by Dr. 
Rohr. and is now erecting a handsome house of 
worshij). which will probably be dedicated in 
February. 1906. The society also owns a par- 
sonage and upon the completion of the new 
church will have property worth $60,000. Its 
menihershii) in round numbers is 600. 

FrusT i.r L iii:uAN. 

The First Lutheran church was organized 
January 15. 1854, with seventy-seven communi- 
cants and thirty-two children. The first house 
of worshij) was built on the ct)rner of North First 
street and Lafayette avenue. The dedication oc- 
curred November 23, 1856, and the sermon was 
preached by Dr. Hasselquist. This building is 
still standing and forms a part of Mrs. J. Fried- 
man's double house. The first pastor was called 
in 1856, and his jiastorate continued until i860. 
In that vear the church withdrew from the synod 
of nortiiern Illinois and joined the Augiistana 



synod. The present church was built in 1883, at 
a cost of about $60,000. It is the largest 
auditorium in the city, with a seating capacity of 
2,500. The church owns Luther hall, a paro- 
chial school on Kishwaukee street, and another on 
Fourteenth avenue. It also owns a parsonage 
on South Third street. The pastors of the 
church have been Revs. Andreen, A. W. Dahl- 
sten, (;. Peters, L. A. Johnston, E. C. Jessup, as- 
sistant : Joel Haaf, J. F. Seedoff. In January, 
1904, the church celebrated the golden jubilee of 
its organization. The communicant membership 
is 1540, the largest of any Swedish Lutheran 
church in America. The total membership, in- 
cluding children, is 2,250. The church owns 
property to the value of $85,000. 


Westminster\terian church was organ- 
ized January 3, 1856, with 22 members, many of 
whom had taken letters from the First Congre- 
gational church. It was first called the Second 
Presbyterian church, and the name was subse- 
quently changed to Westminster. Rev. Morrison 
Huggins was the first pastor, who served until 
1859. The first place of worship was the historic 
courthouse on North F'irst street. In the sum- 
mer of 1856 a ch?pel was completed on the 
ground now occupied by the lecture room. This 
chapel soon proved too small, and public worship 
was conducted in Metropolitan hall, pending the 
erection of the present church, which was dedicat- 
ed in 1858. The following have served the church 
as pastors or stated supplies : Revs. Morrison 
Huggins, L. H. Johnson, Charles Mattoon, 
ChaVles A. Williams" W. S. Curtis, J. H. Ritchie, 
T. S. Scott, S. L. Conde, W. M. Campbell, W. T. 
Wilcox, and John Henry Boose. The present 
pastor has been on the field three years, coming 
directly from McCormick seminary. The value 
of the church property is $25,000. Its member- 
ship is 325. A parsonage was erected in the sum- 
mer of 1905 on the lot adjoining the church on 
the north, at a cost of about $3,700. 


Winnebago Street Methodist church had its 
origin in a Sunday-school, which was started 
May 20, 1856, and which held its sessions in a 
grove on the river bank. The church was or- 
ganized March 4, 1864, at the home of Israel 
Sovereign. The roll of members numbered 
twenty-eight. Ground was broken for a church 
August 8, 1864, and the corner-stone was laid 
August 24. The address was made by the Rev. 
Thomas M. Eddy, author of a work in two 
volumes, The Patriotism of Illinois. The cost 
of the church was $8,000, and was dedicated 
February 12, 1865, by Dr. Eddy. The parsonage 

was built in 1867, at a cost of $1,250. The fol- 
lowing named pastors have served the church: 
Revs. Robert Bentlev, Wm. D. Skelton, Henry L. 
Martin, John M. Caldwell, F. A. Reed, R. S. 
Cantine, Wm. S. Harrington, W. H. Smith, J. M. 
Clendenning, Wm. H. Haight, Henry Lea, J. W. 
Richards, F. F. Farmiloe, M. L. Norris, and F. 
I?. Hardin. A fine brick structure was erected in 

1904, and was dedicated Sunday, November 27th. 
The church has property worth $25,000. The 
membership is about 300. 


The State Street Baptist church was formally 
organized in the vestry of Westminster Presby- 
terian church, August 17, 1858. Three of the 
original members are now living in the city: Mrs. 
Jane Hazlett, Catherine Hazlet't, Mrs. J. P. Lar- 
gent. Rev. Edward C. Mitchell was called to the 
])astorate August 31st. The first organist was 
Prof. D. N. Hood. A chapel was erected at the 
juncture of Market, State and North Fifth streets, 
which is still standing. This chapel was dedicated 
February 2, i860. The organization was first 
called the Second Baptist church, but on the choice 
of a permanent location, the name was changed 
October 26, 1858, to the State Street Baptist 
church. The present house of worship was cledi- 
cated November 18, 1868. The cost was $34,000. 
Dr. Mitchell's successors in the pastorate have 
been : Revs. Spencer Holt, Henry C. Mabie, E. 
K. Chandler, A. R. Medbury, C. R. Lathrop, J. T. 
Burhoe, R. F. Y. Pierce, Langlev B. Sears, J. T. 
Burhoe, R. R. Perkins. Rev. J. T. Burhoe's first 
pastorate was the longest in the history of the 
church. It began in September, 1883, and closed 
in February, 1892. His second pastorate began 
in November, 1898. Rev. Burhoe died March 14, 

1905, and his funeral was the occasion of an 
unusual demonstration of sorrow which was felt 
by all classes of people. His two pastorates thus 
cover a little more than fourteen vears. In 
March a call was extended to Rev. Richard Roy 
Perkins, Ph., D., and he entered upon his full 
pastoral duties in July. The present membership 
is about 440. The value of its property is $29,000. 


The Swedish ^Methodist church was organized 
January 30, 1861, at the home of P. A. Peterson, 
on Charles street, with tw'elve members. The so- 
ciety purchased the old Westminster chapel for 
$600. and reinoved it to First avenue. The pres- 
ent brick edifice was erected in 1877, and was 
dedicated by Rev. C. E. Mandeville. The par- 
sonage was built in 1888. The following pastors 
have served the society : Revs. V. Whitting, 
Albert Erickson, Peter Newberg, August Wester- 
gren, Oscar Shorgren, Olof Qunderson, John 



Lind, A. Y. Wcsterpren, S. B. Newman, John 
Wcafjren, S. D. Sorleiiic, Herman Lindskog. N. 
i;. Xelson. J. M. Objerholm. A. Kahlin. A. Dahl- 
berg. M. Hess, O. F. Lindstrom, Richard Ceder- 
berg. X. M. I-iljerren. .^ . v. S >r..- 
son and P. M. Alfvin. The value of the church 
|)roperty is $12,500. There are 200 members in 
full connection besides jirobationers. P. A. Peter- 
son is the onlv charter member of the society now- 
living. He resides in the same house in which the 
church organized, and is over eighty years of age. 
The church is out of debt, and the Sunday-school 
has. a memlx^rship of about 250. 

CHURCH OF Tin; niUISTI.VN cxiox. 

The Giurch of the Christian L'nion had its 
origin in the exjiulsion of Dr. Kerr from the 
])astorate of the First liajjtist church. He had be- 
come a convert to a more liberal faith, and he and 
fortv-eight sym])athizers were obliged to seek 
other affiliations. In .Sq)teniber. 1870. a religious 
society was organized by the engagement of Rev. 
Dr. Kerr as jireacher, and the election of tem- 
porary executive and finance committees. Public 
preaching services were immediately begun in 
Brown's hall. On Sunday, October 9, the execu- 
tive committee presented a report which offered a 
plan of Christian fellowslii]). .\11 per.sons who 
desired to form a church upon this basis were 
requested to send in their nanios on the succeeding 
.^^abbatli. The church was formallv organizerl 
Wednesday, October 26, 1870. The meeting was 
held in Haskell's hall. Duncan Ferguson pre- 
sided, and James S. Ticknor was secretary. The 
executive committee again presented its basis of 
church fellowshij), which was read and unani- 
mously adojned. The names received in rei)ly 
to the public notice of October 9th were cnlled, 
and 104 i)ers(jns responded. Tiiese constituted the 
charter members of the church. 

It was resolved that "Those who have responded 
to the call of their names, as accepting the basis 
of Christian fellowship which has now been 
ado])ted, shall constitute tlie membership of the 
church, togi-ther with those not personally pres- 
ent, whose names have been received on their 
subscribing to this basis of fellowship." A i)lan 
was adoptefl for the order of the church. On 
motion of Melancthon .Starr, it was unanimously 
resolved to call Dr. Thomas Kerr, at a salarv of 
$2,000 a year. H. X. Starr was elected clerk of 
the church, and Dtmcan Ferguson, treasurer. The 
first board of trustees was composer! of David C 
Sears, William Peters, Seymour Bronson. J. F. 
Lander, and C. I. Horsman. Regular Sunday 
services were first held in Brown's hall. Upon 
the completion of the new courthouse, public 
worship was conducted for a time in the circtiit 
court room, and later in the opera house. After 

eighteen years of successful work the church de- 
cided to erect its own house of worship. The 
corner-stone was laid September 17, 1888. .Ad- 
dresses were made by Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 
Dr. H. W. Thomas and Dr. Kerr. Mrs. John H. 
Sherratt read an original poem. Congratulatory 
letters were sent by distinguished representatives 
of liberal Christianity. .\fter thirty years of 
faithful service Dr. Kerr tendered his resignation 
in the autumn of 1900. He continued as pastor 
emeritus until his death, January 3, 1904. Dr. 
Kerr was succeeded by Rev. Robert C. Bryant, 
who began his duties in the autumn of 1901. Mr. 
Bryant came to Rockford from Lisbon, Xew 
IIam])shire. He studied two years at L'nion The- 
ological Seminary, and one year at .\uburn Semi- 
nary, a Presbyterian school. The membership of 
the fhurcll is about 330. 


The .Swedish Evangelical Mission society was 
organized June i, 1875. Its faith is that of the 
.Swedish Alission covenant and its form of gov- 
ernment is congregational. The church has a 
large brick stnicture, known as Mission taber- 
nacle, on Kishwaukee street, with a seating ca- 
pacity of 1, 100. There is a membership of about 
500. The Sunday school is the largest in W'in- 
nebago county, with over 700 members. The 
church owns property worth $12,500. The 
l)astors have l>een Revs. Palm(|uist Lindell. John 
C.ustafson, \\"enstrand, .\lfred Karlen, F. M. 
Johnson, who .served eleven years, S. W. Stmd- 
berg, who served seven years, and O. P. Peter- 
.son, who came in the spring of 1905. 


This society was formed by the union of the 
old First and Third street Methodist Episcopal 
churches on May 19, 1876, during the pastorate 
of Rev. Hooper Crews, a man of God whose 
memory is as ointment poured forth. The board 
of trustees elected Mav Kjth was Hon. William 
Brown, George Troxell. Clark Miller, Harmon B. 
.'^ol1er, John Budlong. Joseph Rodd, Thomas G. 
Lawler, Reuben Sovereign and John C. Cireg- 
ory. It was agreed that a new and suitable 
church building should be erected as soon as pos- 
sible, which task was consummated during the 
pastorate of Rev. G. R. \'aidiorne. This build- 
ing which now stands at South .'Second and Oak 
streets, was completed in 1883 and dedicated by 
Dr. Cnow Bishop") Fowler. .Sunday, September 
9, 1883. This church building occupies one of 
the most beautiful sites in the city and. together 
with the parsonage, is valued at $50,000. The 
pastors appointed to this churcli since its organiza- 
tion have been: 1877-78, Hooper Crews; 1878-81, 



William A. Spencer: 1881-84, Garret R. \'an- 
horne ; 1884-87. William Aug. Smith; 1887-90, 
Martin E. Cady; 1890-91, Fred Porter and J. R. 
Hamilton; 1891-93, J. S. Bell; 1893-96, John N. 
Hall; 1896-1901, W. W. Painter; 1901-02. John 
Thompson; 1902-1905, Harlow \". Holt. Rev. 
F. W. Barniun was assigned by the conference of 
1905. The church membership now numbers 
620 people, with a Sunday school enrollment of 


A German Lutheran congregation was or- 
ganized in the '70s by Rev. F. N. Richman, of 
Elgin, with the name of Emmanuel Lutheran. 
This church is now extinct. 

About 1882 dissensions arose and a number 
withdrew and organized the Evangelical Lutheran 
St. Paul's church, U. A. C, which means the 
Unaltered Augsburg Confession, as contained in 
the Book of Concord of 1580. Services were con- 
ducted by supplies until 1888. when Rev. L. Dorn 
was called. The present faithful pastor is Rev. 
Otto Qruner. He has been in charge since 1895, 
and the church is in a prosperous condition. There 
are about 450 members. The church is erecting 
a new house of worship on Horsman street. 


E]iworth ?\L E. church was organized as the 
Ninth Street church in the spring of 1876, by 
Rev. G. L. Wiley, who was then pastor of the 
First church. The society was designed to be a 
feeder for the First church, and began with 
fifteen charter members. The Swedish Methodist 
church building was purchased for $300, and re- 
moved to Ninth street, at a cost of $300. The 
first year the society was under the care of the 
First church. The second year the pastor was 
sent by conference, and since that time the church 
has maintained an independent existence. In 1891 
the old church was sold for $75, and a new edifice 
erected on the old site. The new church was 
later removed to its present location at the corner 
of Parmele street and Fourteenth avenue, and the 
name changed to Epworth church. The pastors 
have been Revs. G. L. Wilev. Joseph Odgers, W. 
A. Spencer. W. H. Barrett, A.'j. Brill. E."j. Rose, 
Joseph Warden, H. L. Martin. F. R. Hall. J. L. 
Gardner, J. W. Irish. J. L. Chase. Frank Milne. 
Charles Wentworth, C. F. Kleihauer. C. A. 
Briggs. The membership is about 75. 


St. Mary's church was organized in 1885 by 
the Rev. E. A. Murphy, who subsequently re- 
moved to Chicago, and there died in September. 
1903. The parish wr.s originally a part of St. 

James' church. The corner-stone was laid in the 
summer of 1885, with an imposing ceremony, in 
which a large number of priests from Chicago 
officiated. Tlie following pastors have succeeded 
Rev. Murphy : Rev. M. E. McLaughlin, now de- 
ceased ; and Rev. P. A. ^IcMann. The follow- 
ing priests have served as assistants : Revs. John 
Dorsey, Green, A. Carr, Stephen Woulfe, S. P. 
Byrne, James A. Solon. John P. Harrington. Paul 
Burke. The church has a membership of about 
2.500, and the parish is one of the most important 
in the diocese. The church has property worth 
not less than $70,000. 


This church was organized as a Swedish con- 
gregation in the general synod July 20. 1882, 
with eighty-five members. A lot was purchased 
on the corner of Third avenue and Sixth street. 
The church was dedicated October 14. 1883. The 
general svnod pastors have been : C. Anderson, 
1882-84 ;'C. Hansen, 1884-88; C. Ross, 1888-90. 
The church withdrew from the general synod and 
entered Augustana synod in 1890. While yet a 
Swedish congregation it employed the following 
.\ugustana pastors: A. P. Fors, 1890-91: G. 
Juhlin, 1892-95. On the 22d of April, 1895. ^ 
bold step was taken ; the mother tongue was 
abandoned and the language of the land adopted. 
Those unable to understand the latter quietly 
withdrew and others soon began to take their 
places. As an English-speaking congregation it 
has emploved the following lavmen and pastors : 
Mr. Edwin Stenholm, 1895 ; Mr. C. A. W'endell, 
1895-97; Rev. Oscar Nelson, 1897-00: Rev. O. 
AI. Anderson. 1900-01 ; Rev. C. O. Solberg, 1901- 
03; Prof. C. J. Sodergren. 1903 (summer 
months) ; Rev. C. A. Wendell since January i, 
1904. The change of language has proven wise 
and timelv, and the work nas been highlv success- 


Grace AI. E. church was organized in the 
autumn of 1891 to meet the needs of a growing 
population on the west side of Kent's creek. There 
were thirty-nine charter members. Sorne of 
these came from other churches, but the society 
was not an offshot from any other body. The 
church was organized under the administration 
of Presiding Elder Haight. The first pastor was 
Rev. Frank D. Sheets, who served five years. His 
successors have been Revs. Frank McNamer, J. 
B. Robinson, T. E. Ream. E. K. D. Hester, and 
T. R. Strobridge. 


This church was organized several years ago, 
and has maintained regular services. Its present 



place of meeting is Mendelssohn hall. A reading 
room is maintained in the Lathrop block, on 
North Church street. The membership is gaining 


The African Methodist chnrch was the out- 
growth of a Sunday school held for some years 
in the First Congregational church. It was or- 
ganized in 1891, with only seven members. The 
chnrch owns property on the corner of Elm and 
W'iimebago streets, worth $6,000. The little 
society has been burdened for many years with a 
mortgage, which has been assumed, pro rata, by 
the stronger churches of the city. The church 
has been served by the following pastors : Revs. 
F. B. Jones. J. C. Anderson, Richmond Taylor, 
Lewis Dixon, Sandy McDowell. P. P. Taylor, 
S. B. Moore and C. H. Thomas. Mr. .Moore came 
upon the field in October, 1900, and has faith- 
fully labored for the u])lifting of his people. The 
church has a membership of forty-live. The con- 
gregation, however, is much larger. 


The Swedish Free church, on Fourth avenue, 
has a membership of 325, a gain of 100 per cent, 
in three years. The value of the church property 
is $6,000. Besides this a lot, worth $2,700 has 
been purchased on the corner of Fourth avenue 
and Sixth street, on which a cliurch is now in 
process of construction. 


The Trinity F.nglish l.utlieraii cluirch is one 
of the latest additions to the long list of Rock- 
ford churches. The society was organized by 
Rev. W. H. Manss. March 10, 1895, with forty 
members. Services were held in the Y. M. C. A. 
building and later in the brick building owned 
by the old Christian church. In 1898 the society 
purchased this property for $3,400. The growth 
of the membership was rapid and soon outgrew 
the edifice, which was torn down to make room 
for a more commodious structure. This house 
of worship was dedicated December 16, 1900. 
Rev. Manss was succeeded by Rev. H. M. Ban- 
ncn, to whom the church is indebted for its un- 
usual growth. He is an eloquent preacher and an 
indefatigable worker, and his magnetic person- 
alitv has been the inspiration of liis people. In 
the spring f)f 1804. while the pastor was in Pal- 
estine, the church i)urchased the Trowbridge 
homestead, on Lafayette aveiuie. for a ])arsonage. 
The church now has a membership of over 600. 


The present Central Qiristian church is the 
result of an heroic effort to succeed an older so- 

ciety which had disbanded. It was organized 
.Xovember 20, 1898, with twenty-three members, 
after holding a scries of revival meetings. 

In 1899 Rev. D. R. Lucas, national chaplain of 
the G. A. R., was called to the pastorate and 
meetings were helil in Y. M. C. A. hall. In Au- 
gust, 1900, Rev. (). F. Jordan, the present pastor, 
began his labors. The society dedicated its first 
house of worshi]) .\pril 14, 1901. This was the 
property on South Church street originally owned 
by the old Unitarian Society, but which had 
])assed into other hands. The church has one 
liundrcd and sixty members. 

SWiailSII liAl'TI.ST. 

The .Swedish Baptist church owns a brick 
house of worship at the corner of Fourth avenue 
and Seventh street valued at $16,400. The church 
affiliates with the Rock River Baptist Associa- 
tion, and in June last reported a membership to 
that body of 254. 


Zion Lutheran church is one of the largest and 
most prosperous Swedish churches in Rockford. 

It is located on Sixth street. 


The Salvation .\mi\- and the X'olunteers of 
.\merica have covered the local field with varying 
degrees of success for some years. 


The Young Men's Christian Association was 
first organized in 1858. .\ few men are still liv- 
nig in Rockford who were members of the early 
organization. This association held its meetings 
the first year in the different churches, but the 
second vear it rented commodious rooms in the 
Buxton building at the corner of Wyman and 
State street, now occupied by the street railway 
compan} as offices and transfer station. With 
the breaking out of the great Civil war it, like 
many others, was forced to suspend, the last 
meeting recorded being January 6, 1862. 

The present Y. M. C. A. was organized in 
1876. The call for the first meeting was signed 
bv W. H. Worthington, Charles E. Sheldon, T. 
G. Lawler. F. J. Leonard. H. H. West. S. J. 
Caswell. E. P." Thomas. G. L. Wiley. L. A. 
Trowbridge. C. L. \\^illiams and others. 

The first meeting was held .\pril 17th in the 
lecture room of the State-street Baptist church. 
It was called to order by L. .\. Trowbridge, who 
stated the object of the meeting. May i. 1876, 
the organization was completed, constitution 



adopted and officers elected, in Congregational 
hall, 319 West State street. E. P. Thomas was 
elected president ; L. A. Trowbridge, first vice- 
president ; W. H. Worthington, second vice-presi- 
dent; Charles E. Sheldon, secretary, and D. I. 
Waddell, treasurer. 

Rooms known as the "library rooms" in the 
old Ashton store building, corner of Main and 
State streets, were occupied by the association 
from 1876 to 1890. Reading and social rooms 
were maintained from the first. Religious meet- 
ings were held Sunday afternoons and Monday 
evenings, many conversions resulting. For a 
time meetings were held at noon each day. A 
gymnasium was started in 1885. Practical talks 
and lectures were maintained each winter; even- 
ing educational classes were a regular feature in 
the early '80s. A work for boys was started in 

July 6, 1884, at the close of the Sunday meet- 
ing, a special meeting was held. Agitation for a 
building was begun and a fund of $921 was 
pledged to start the movement. W. H. Worth- 
ington took the initiative. 

In 1886 Mrs. D. S. Penfield gave impetus to 
the movement by a gift of a lot on East State 
street as a site. In October of the same year the 
State Y. M. C. A. convention was held here, the 
sessions being held in the Second Congregational 
church. This created great interest in the build- 
ing movement. 

On the 17th of October, 1886, a special meet- 
ing of a few leading business men was held at the 
residence of the late W. A. Talcott on North 
Main street, at which $5,000 was pledged toward 
the building fund. Henry W. Price and Mr. 
Talcott each pledged $1,000 to start it. They 
prepared subscription lists and launched the can- 
vass for $25,000. 

The fund steadily grew until in the autumn of 
1888 the association appointed a building com- 
mittee consisting of Prof. P. R. Walker, W. H. 
Worthington, P. R. Wood and H. H. Robinson, 
secured plans for the building and received bids 
for its erection. 

The corner-stone was laid April 18, 1889. The 
building was completed near the close of 1890 at 
a total expense of $42,000. The building con- 
tained adequate reception rooms, parlors, game 
rooms, gymnasium, offices, dining room and 
kitchen, social rooms, baths, auditorium and 
sleeping apartments. 

The first meeting in the new building was held 
by the board of directors December 30, 1889. E. 
M. Aiken was the first general secretary after the 
new building was occupied. B. F. Pierce and 

E. E. Lockwood were general secretaries and S. 

F. Weyburn and Prof. P. R. Walker were presi- 
dents during the building period. 

Ever since the erection of the building an all- 

around work similar to that now carried on has 
been maintained. 

The following men have been presidents of the 
association during its history: E. P. Thomas, 
H. S. Tupper, G. D. Smith, O. R. Brouse, L. A. 
Trowbridge, W. H. Worthington, C. H. C. Bur- 
lingame, S. F. Weyburn, P. R. Walker, H. H. 
Robinson, William Pond, F. S. Regan and L. L. 
Morrison, Judge Morrison having been president 
since 1896. 

The general secretaries have been : J. G. John- 
son, 1879 to 1881 ; George S. Avery, 1881 to 
1883; B. F. True, 1883 to 1885; B. F. Pierce, 
1885 to 1889; E. E. Lockwood, 1889 to 1890; 
E. M. Aiken, 1890 to 1894 ; J. P. Bailey, 1894 to 
1895 ; T. H. Hansen, 1896 to 1898 ; E. L. Tuck- 
er, 1898 to 1900; A. W. Beckner, 1900 to date. 

The association has had two important be- 
quests ; one of $10,000 from Judge Benjamin R. 
Sheldon, and $500 from Giles R. Goss. 

Educationally, there are many features. The 
reading room, supplied with the best magazines, 
is in constant use. Two series of practical talks 
are maintained on Monday and Friday nights, 
the speakers being mostly local business and pro- 
fessional men. A night school is conducted, with 
an enrollment of 150 students; special classes in 
English for Swedes are very popular. Classes 
in chemistry, mechanical drawing, penmanship, 
arithmetic and other common branches are con- 
ducted. The Star Course has been a feature of 
the association during the past ten years. Many 
notable lecturers and musicians have been 
brought to the city by it, including such men and 
women as Gen. Lew Wallace, T. DeWitt Tal- 
mage, B. K. Bruce, Sam Jones, Lieut. Schwatka, 
Jahu DeWitt Miller, Hedley, Dr. Henson, George 
Kennan, R. H. Conwell, Jacob A. Riis, Katherine 
Ridgeway, Thomas Dixon. Jr. ; Frank Dixon, 
Bob Taylor, Senator Dolliver, Landis, Chicago 
SxTTiphony Orchestra, Brook's Band, Temple 
Quartet, Leland T. Powers, Mockridge, Banda 
Rossa, George Hamlin, Ernest Gamble, Benfey, 
Susanne Adams and Campanari. 

The gymnasium was started in 1885 in the old 
Ashton block. When the present building was 
erected the plans included an additional gymna- 
sium building. In 1891 a number of prominent 
business men in close touch with the association 
formed a syndicate and purchased the property 
adjoining on the north to carry out the original 
purpose. But when the hard times came the 
property was lost, the men themselves losing the 
amounts invested and the association the needed 
site for such a building. 


In the spring of 1876 at the close of a revival 
meeting, a prayer circle of young women was 


I'AST AXIJ l'RESi:.\r 


foriiK'il. coniposctl of those from the various Eiist 
Side chiirclics. Tliis circle met in the W'estniiii- 
ster cliitrch i)arlor the hour hefore tlie Sunday 
evening; service, which proved a great blessing to 
those alteniling. 

In December. 1877. they decided to organize 
for better and wider work, but with no thought 
of taking up tlie usual work of a V. \V. C A. 
A constitution was a<lopted. officers elected aiitl 
thirty-six gave their names as charter members. 

.Miss lilla 1". Brainard was elected president. 
Miss Helen Pcnfield (now Mrs. Revell) record- 
ing .secretary. Meetings were held in Westmins- 
ter ]iarlors. the sick were visited, cottage prayer 
meetings held, many ])oor families were assisted 
and the young women hcli)ed the Y. M. C. A. on 
social occasions. 

In June, 1880. it was decided to disband be- 
cause .so many young people's societies had been 
organized in the different churches. The young 
women on the East Side had been drawn closely 
together, and led to feel the need of work among 
the young women of the city, and had been 
trained for religious work by this first Y. W. C. 
A. so that eleven years later many of them be- 
came charter members an<l are still f.iithtul wurk- 
ers in the present association. 

In May. 1891. Miss Mary McElroy, .state sec- 
retary for Illinois, came to Rockford and after 
conference with prominent ladies the present 
Viiung Women's Christian .\ssociation was 
organized in the parlors of the Second Congrega- 
tional church. May 28. Mrs. .\nna Williams was 
elected president: Mrs. C. R. Wise, vice-presi- 
dent ; Miss Kate Rising, recording secretary ; 
Miss Ida .Mien, treasurer. Mrs. Williams served 
only a sho'^t term and was succeeded by Mrs. 
W. I,. i*)atoii, and Mrs. Selwyn Clark was elected 
to take the place of Mrs. C. R. Wise. The board 
of directors was as follows: Mrs. V.. M. Revell. 
Mrs. S. L. Kennedv. Mrs. M. S. Parmele. Mrs. 
S. X. Jones, Miss Mary Shcrratt, Mrs. C. H. C. 
Burlingame, Mrs. Frank lirown. .Mrs. Charles 
Herrick. Mrs. Oscar Hall. Mrs. M. L. Baird. 
Mrs. .\rthur Berridge. Following Mrs. Eaton. 
Mrs. S. L. Kennedy, Mrs. E. L. Herrick, Mrs. 
Harriett I'easc and Mrs. G. R- N'anhorne have 
served as ])resident. Mrs. E. S. Cregory is serv- 
ing in that office at jiresent. 

Miss Caroline Griffith was the first general sec- 
retary. She was here only one year. Then Miss 
May McGranahan came for a year. In January. 
1894. Miss Gratia X'orton was a.sked to take the 
position until a ])ermanent .secretary could be se- 
cured. In Jinie, i')C>^. she was called to the sec- 
retaryshi]) and has remained. Miss Mildred 
(ircaves was until recently associated with her in 
the work. 

The present property of the association was 
rented and furnished and later on, in June, 1892, 

was purcha.sed for S5.500. .^ large part of the 
money was raised by a soliciting committee that 
year by great eft'ort. In 1899 another ett'ort was 
put forth and the final payment on the building 
was made. 

.\t the l)eginning of the work a noon lunch 
was started ; also an employment bureau, evening 
classes, a go.spel service on Sunday afternoon 
and a boarcling department. These lines of work 
are still carried on. 

l-or three years an assistant secretary has been 
employed and the work has been enlarged. Reg- 
ular work has been carried on during the noon 
hour in the Nelson knitting mills, the Ziock box 
factory, the Union Overall Company and visita- 
tion in other factories. .Many girls have been 
l)rought into the association from this work dur- 
ing the noon hour. 

The as.sociation will dedicate a building in De- 
cember. 1905. at a cost of $18,000, free of 


The nuisical life of Rockford is so interwoven 
in its liistory, even from its earliest days, that one 
woidd be incomplete without the other. 

The grandfathers tell of the singing .schools of 
the early days when a tiny village marked the 
place where a city now flourishes, and one of the 
old singing masters. David Merrill, who taught 
singing school here in 1841, is still living. Mr. 
Merrill is ninety-three years old and resides in 
the neighboring town of Cherry \'alley. 

.\ program nearly a half-hundred years old ad- 
vertises in glowing terms the '"fourth grand en- 
tertainment" of the Rockford Musical Associa- 
tion, at Concert hall, March 26, 1857. The pro- 
gram itself contains scarcely a number familiar 
to the ])resent-day concert-goer, and among the 
many ])articiiiants not more than two or three 
names are known to the present generation. 

.■\bout this time there came to Rockford from 
the East a }oung man, who was soon recognized 
as the leader of all musical affairs. This young 
man was Daniel X. Hood. For thirty-seven 
years he was actively identified with the musical 
interests of the city, and to him perhaps more 
than to any other one person belongs the credit 
of the city's grreat musical growth. A musician 
of high ideals. Prof. Hood would tolerate noth- 
ing but the best in the art to which he has de- 
voted a lifetime, and patiently but persistently 
labored to elevate the musical taste <if the com- 

.A .series of musical festivals were given in the 
early '60s and '"Ps. first under the direction of 
Prof. J. V. Farg'o and later imder Prof. Hood, 
lasting two or three days and overshadowing all 
other events of those times. 

In 1858-59 Prof. Hood assumed charge of the 



^lusical Corservatory of Rockford College, then 
known as the Rockford Female Seminary. Many 
prominent musicians to-day owe their success to 
the early triining received from Prof. Hood at 
Rockford College. For thirty-seven years he was 
identified with the college, part of the time teach- 
ing both vocal and instrumental, and for sixteen 
years of this time also held the position of organ- 
ist in the Second Presb}'terian church of Chicago, 
then the wealthiest church in that city. He was 
later identified with the First and Second Congre- 
gational churches in Rockford as organist and 
choir director for many years, and at present he is 
organist of a Congregational church in W'oburn, 
Mass., the largest church in New England out- 
side of Boston. 

Eleven years ago Prof. Hood left Rockford to 
spend the rest of his days in the East, and with 
his going the city lost one of its most talented 
musicians, whose life has made a lasting impress 
in its history. 

L. B. Starkweather, who came to Rockford in 
1863 and organized the Harmonic Societv, was 
the first vocal teacher in the town who had fitted 
himself for that profession, and for many years 
he taught both voice and piano. He was an 
organist in the First Congregational church, 
whose organ was dedicated by Dudley Ikick. Air. 
Starkweather also successfully condticted several 
musical festivals in Rockford and other towns. 

In 1884 Prof. L. A. Torrens came to Rock- 
ford to become director of the Rockford Choral 
I'nion, a society with which nearly all the musi- 
cians of the city were identified. 

Some noteworthy concerts were given, among 
the number being the historical choral concert, 
held in the First Lutheran Church, and partici- 
pated in by Rockford, Freeport and Janesville 
choruses : "The Messiah,'' given with the Chicago 
Orchestra and soloists from Chicago and Rock- 
ford ; two performances of Haydn's "Creation," 
given with the Chicago Orchestra, a chorus of 
350 voices ; and three performances of Haydn's 
"Seasons," with Bach's Orchestra, of Milwatikee, 
The last-named concerts were the first events ever 
held in Court Street church. 

Prof. Torrens returned to Rockford about six 
years ago and organized a choral society, which 
has sponsored a number of fine musical events, 
including two annual festivals that brotight to the 
city such well-known artists as Herbert Wither- 
spoon, Alme. Charlotte Alaconda, Genevieve 
Clark Wilson, Jeanette Durno-Collins, Glenn 
Hall, Herbert Butler, Theodore Spiering. George 
Hamlin, Dan T. Boddoe and a number of others. 

To Prof. Torrens is due great credit for under- 
taking to give to Rockford an annual musical fes- 
tival of such worth and so deserving of the city's 
support. Prof. Torrens has for many years suc- 
cessfully conducted large choral societies in vari- 

ous parts of the country, aside from his teaching 
and has long been prominent in musical affairs. 

Far and near Rockford is known as a city of 
musical clubs, and more than a dozen organiza- 
tions of a distinctly musical character are in exist- 
ence at the present time. 

At the head of these stands the Alendelssohn 
Club, which is recognized from Maine to Califor- 
nia as one of the strongest musical clubs in the 

Twenty-one years ago last October a small 
company of ladies met at the home of Mrs, 
Chandler Starr and formed a little club, the ob- 
ject of which was "the permanent establishment 
of an organization for the musical culture of the 
members and the uplifting of the standard of 
music in the cit}- of Rockford." Mendelssohn 
was chosen as their patron saint. 

The club now has a number of departments, 
including active, passive, honorary, associate and 
student members, and an auxiliary chorus of 
sixty ladies, under the direction of Harrison M, 
^^"ild. of Chicago. 

There are between thirty-five and forty active 
members, who are responsible for the regular 
concerts given every other Thursday. Almost 
without exception these musicians are constantly 
studying, and each year finds a number in the 
great art centers of the world, gaining new ideas 
and fresh inspiration for future club work. At 
jjresent the club has representatives in Paris, Ber- 
lin, Dresden and New York, while a number 
make weekly trips to Chicago for instruction un- 
der the best teachers there. 

Each season a number of artists' recitals are 
given under the auspices of the club, and some of 
the best artists in the country have been brought 
here. Among the number that may be mentioned 
are Afme. Fannie Bloomfield-Zeisler. Alme. Car- 
reno, Mme. Schumann-Heink, the Alendelssohn 
Quintet Club. David Bispham, leannette Durno- 
Collins, Alme. Blauvelt. E. A. AlacDowell and 
many others. 

Last year the famous Pittsburg Orchestra, un- 
der the direction of Emil Paur, was one of the 

The present officers of the club are : President, 
Mrs. Chandler Starr : vice-president, Airs, Fred 
H. Motfatt ; recording secretary, Mrs. O. R. 
Brouse : corresponding secretary. Miss Ethel L. 
Van Wie ; treasurer. Airs. T. Y. Engstrom. 

Following the example of the Alendelssohn 
Club, a score of young girls organized the St. 
Cecilia Club fourteen years ago. For several sea- 
sons the club met at the homes of the members, 
but, like the mother club, soon outgrew the small 
quarters and rented a hall for its regular meet- 

As the members of the St. Cecilia Club grew 
older several of the younger girls formed another 



club at the home of their teacher, Mrs. John 
Oberg. This chili was named the Schumann, and 
with Mrs. Oberg for a guide, worked with a will 
to accomplish creditable results. 

The Liebling Club is another of the younger 
clubs that is well known, and that has sponsored 
many pretty concerts. The club was named for 
Emii Liebling. of Chicago, and this popular pian- 
ist has taken a personal interest in the club's wel- 
fare, making visits to Rockford to hear and par- 
ticipate in the annual concerts. 

Rockford has hail its share of nnisical celebri- 
ties and several who call this city "home" have 
won fame on two continents. Mrs. Katharine 
Tanner Eisk, the celebrated contralto, is a gradu- 
ate of Rockford College, and pays frequent visits 
to this city, where her mother resided until her 
death in October. u>05. Wilhclm lleinrich. the 
noted blind tenor, who makes his home in I'.os- 
ton, is another artist whom we are proud to own, 
and whose mother still lives here. 

No young woman pianist has won more fame 
than Jeanetle Uurno-Collins, who is known in 
this country and liurope as a wonderfully gifted 
musician. Frank C. La Forge, who at the pres- 
ent time is in lierlin, is fast gaining recognition 
as a young pianist and composer, who will be 
famous in this country and Europe before many 
years. Howard Wells, now of Chicago, is also 
known as a pianist of undoubted talent. 

Two Rockford ladies are filling important 
choir positions in Xew York City. Miss Alice 
Sovereign's beautiful contralto voice is popular in 
the great metropolis, and Mrs. Corinne Ryder 
Kelsey filled fine engagements last season in the 
East, including two appearances with Walter 
Damrosch in Wagnerian lectures. Mr. and Mrs. 
George Nelson Holt, both well-known musicians, 
are at present studying in Paris. 

For half a century the musical conservatory of 
Rockford College has played an important part 
in the musical life of the city, and among the 
graduates each year are young women from all 
parts of the country. 

Under Prof. Hood the conservatory gained a 
wide reputation that has strengthened with the 
years. Prof. Hood was the head of the depart- 
ment from 1858 until 1895, '''"^1 ^^■^■'' succeeded by 
Mrs. George Nelson Holt, who was connected 
with the piano department for seven years. Mrs. 
Helen Saljin Brown and Howard Wells and Jose- 
phine Phinncy also taught in this department. 

( )ne of the poptdar vocal teachers connected 
with the college was Mrs. Addie St. John Far- 
num, who was at the head of the dejiartment for 
seven vears and was at that time a favorite so- 
prano here. Frank T. Baird. of Chicago, taught 
the vocal classes for five years and Miss Caro- 
line Radecke for eight years. Miss Radecke was 
succeeded by Mrs. Daisy I'orce Scott, who taught 
for two seasons. At the present time the piano 
<lepartment is in charge of Miss Emily Parsons. 

.Among the male quartets that have traveled 
over the country none has won more fame than 
the old Weber ([uartet, of Rockford, which was 
organized in 18S6. During the cam[)aign of 1888 
the quartet was a prominent feature of all im- 
portant political meetings, and the fame of the 
young men spread until they were twice called to 
Washington to sing. The members of the quar- 
tet at this time were .Myron E. Barnes, Charles 
Rogers, L. J. West and Henry D. Andrew, and 
under the management of the Slayton Lyceum 
Bureau they toured the country from Washington 
to California, and from British Columbia to 
Texas, winning ovations everywhere. The quar- 
tet was in existence until 1891. Others identified 
with the quartet were I'"rank .\ndrew and Frank 
D. Emerson. 

.Since the days of the civil war Rockford has 
had a band organization. In the early days of 
the war the old Rockford Band accomijanied the 
home regiment to battle, among the members be- 
ing August Dedrickson, who from that time until 
his death a few years ago was the most promi- 
nent figure in the city's bands and orchestras. 

In 1867 the Forest City Banel was organized, 
with Mr. Dedrickson as leader, and for thirty 
years he served in that capacity. He was suc- 
ceeded by Frank Fitzgerald, when the name of 
the band was changed to Watch Factory Band, 
and later to Rockford Military Band, under 
which name it was known throughout the state. 

After four years Mr. Fitzgerald was succeeded 
by E. F. Blakeley, under whose efficient leader- 
ship the band has continued until to-day. In the 
year 1903 the name of tlie band was changed to 
the Schumann Military. 

.Albert Barker and .Allen Crandall were charter 
members of the band and have been connected 
with the organization during its entire existence. 
The late Marcus C. Thayer, who for many years 
had an active ]iart in local musical affairs, was 
also a charter member. 

Dedrickson's Orchestra, later known as the 
Opera House Orchestra, was an outgrowth of the 
Forest City Band, and for thirty years prospered 
under the leadership of August Dedrickson. 

Ten years ago. to supply the demand for a 
dance orchestra, the Benedict Orchestra was or- 
ganized b\- .Albert Barker. This orchestra, under 
tlie leadcrshi]) of Mr. Dedrickson, sprang into 
instant favor and since that time has held first 
place among similar organizations of the city. 
Mr. Barker is still manager and Mr. George 
Gieske is the present leader. 

The HaddorfF Band, though comparatively 
new, is doing excellent work and gaining an envi- 
able reputation. 

A band known as Camp 51 Band, M. W. .A., 
is an outgrowth of the old S. M. and S. F. Band. 

.Among other local orchestras are the Metro- 
pole, now known as Collin's Orchestra; the Ep- 
worth and Rockford orchestras. 

^^L^M) ?y /^^^ (u^cj £^ ^ 



Among the men of the past and present who 
have contributed to the progress and develop- 
ment of Rockford and Winnebago county, Good- 
year Asa Sanford was prominent. He left the 
impress of his individuality upon the public life 
of the citv and his labors promoted its material, 
intellectual and moral development. He won 
the success that comes from consecutive and 
well directed effort, and at the same time his 
methods were so honorable, his principles so 
elevating, that even the most malevolent had 
naught to say against his career. Such a life 
history is indeed well worthy of emulation and 
should serve as an example to the young and an 
inspiration to the aged. Mr. Sanford was a na- 
tive of Hamden. Connecticut, born August 28, 
1814. The ancestry of the family can be traced 
back to Thomas Sanford, of Gloucestershire. 
England, who came to this country with the 
John Winthrop colony in the period from 1631 
to 1633. He was one of the four appointed to 
"make diligent search" for Colonels Whaley and 
Goft'e and like a true patriot, "declares and testi- 
fies" that he failed to find them. The family 
history, however, is obtainable even at a more 
remote period. Sanford Manor in England is 
one of the few Shropshire estates which can be 
said to be held by the lineal descendants of its 
earliest feofi'ee. Thomas de Sanford. a Norman 
follower of William the Conqueror, is mentioned 
on the roll of battle Abbey, having been one of 
the Norman followers of William, duke of Nor- 
mandy, by whom he was knighted for bravery 
at the battle of Hastings. His son, Sir Thomas 
de Sanford. held under King Henry I the manor 
of Sanford and Rothal and the former is still 
in possession of his descendants. The origin of 
the name is quite evident — sand>- ford — but in 
many branches of the name the first letter "d" 
is omitted. 

Thomas Sanford, son of Anthony and Jane 
Sanford, of Stowe, county Gloucester, England, 
came to Boston with the John Winthrop colony. 
We find record of him in Dorchester, Massa- 
chusetts, where with others he received land in 
1634 and also in 1635. He became a freeman 
of the colony, March 9, 1637, and in 1639 re- 
moved with a colony from Dorchester and Wa- 
tertown to Connecticut, settling in Milford, 
where his name appears in the earliest records. 
He was the leader in organizing the town, and 
was intimately associated with Governor Treat, 
Leete, Buckingham, Law and other leading men 
of the times. 

Stephen Sanford. grandfather of G. A. San- 
ford, of Rockford, was born at Milford, Connec- 
ticut, August 13, 1740, and died on the fifty-fifth 
anniversary of his birth. He was married while 
living at Woodbridge, Connecticut, to Sybil 
\Miite, who was probabl)- born at New Haven, 
her natal day being October 15, 1745, while her 
death occurred December 5, 1808. She was a 
daughter of Deacon John White, and a grand- 
daughter of Captain John and Mary (Dicker- 
man) \Miite. and a great-granddaughter of 
Isaac and ]\Iary (Atwater) Dickerman. Her 
father settled on a farm in Woodbridge. Con- 
necticut, but afterward removed to New Haven, 
where he died November 24. 1797, at the age of 
seventy-five years. He wedded Mary Dicker- 
man, of New Haven, December 27, 1744. Sallie 
^^'hite was a daughter of Lieutenant John 
White, a son of Deacon John and Mary (Dick- 
erman) White. Lieutenant John White was 
married May 25, 1778, to Anna Bostwick, of 
Derby, and their daughter Sallie was born April 
5, 1785. She married David Sanford, of Bethany, 
her death occurring in February, 1836, at the 
age of fifty years. 

Unto Stephen and Sybil (White) Sanford 
were born nine children : Esther, who was born 
February 4, 1768, and died May 21, 1768; Es- 


tlicr, llie second of the name, who was born July 
26. i/i*). and married Jared Sperry ; Rachel, 
who was born necembcr 1. 1771. and married 
Zeri Downes: llnlda. who was born May 17. 
1774, and died July 1. 1794: F.lisha. who was 
born July i. 1776. and married Marijaret ToUes ; 
Stephen Elisha. who was born March 30, 1779: 
Sybil. wh(j was born July 2y. 17S2. and married 
a Mr. S]ierry : .\mos Wliite. who was born De- 
cember 20. 1785. and married Obedience .\t- 
water ; and Lucretia. who was born October 27. 
1789. and became Mrs. ISeecher. After losing 
her first husband Sybil White Sanford married 
Deacon .\sa (ioodyear. of Ilamden. Connecticut. 
The will of Stephen Sanford is still in exist- 
ence and reads as follows: "In the name of Clod. 
Amen: I, Stephen Sanford. of .\ew Haven 
county, and state of Connecticut, in New En.ij- 
land. beintj weak in body but of .sound mind 
and memory, thanks be to God therefor ; do make 
this my last will and testament in manner and 
form followiuij, namely: Principally and first 
of all. 1 sii^'"^ a'l'l recommend my soul to (iod 
that save it. and my body to the earth in a decent 
and Christian burial at the discretion of my ex- 
ecutor hereafter mentioned, in hopes of a glo- 
rious resurrection through Jesus Christ my Lord, 
and the worldly estate which (iod hath been 
pleased to bless me withal after my debts 
and funeral charges, and charge of executing this 
my will are duly paid and satisfied. I dispose of 
in the following manner, namely : Item — To my 
dear and loving wife, Esther Sanford. I give 
and bef|ueath all my movable estate whatsoever, 
excepting the legacies hereafter in this my will 
mentioned, and to her, her heirs and assigns for- 
ever. I also give to my said wife the use and 
improvements of all my real estate for the space 
of one year after my decease. I also give her 
during her natural life the use and im])rovement 
of the real estate hereafter mentioned, two-thirds 
of my new house and barn and all my old house. 
all standing on my homestead, also two-thirds of 
all my land adjoining my house, and two-thirds 
of all my lands in the Fort (fast?) Rock, so 
called ; also all my lands called Grindum farm 
and the barn standing thereon ; also two lots of 
land lying at the southeast corner of a lot called 
Sherman lot, by estimation about seven acres 
as the fence now stands. Item — I also give to 
the society of Amety in the town of New Haven, 
for tlie support of a Presbyterian or Congrega- 
tional minister in said society, he being a friend 
to this and the L'nited States of .America, after 
my wife's estate therein shall be ended, the Car- 
ington lot .so called, containing about tweiitv- 
three acres. I also give to the church of Christ 
in said society a silver christening basin of the 
size of that in the church in White Haven so- 

cietv, to be procured and ]}urchascd by my execu- 
tor hereafter mentioned within one year alter my 
decease, and delivered to said church. I also 
give to said society eighty pounds lawful money 
to be paid by my e.xecutor, ten pounds yearly 
until the whole of said sum be paid. I also 
give and bequeath to Charles Sanford, who now 
lives with me, my new house and barn stand- 
ing on my homestead and all my lands adjoining 
to my house and all my lands lying in the Fort 
Rocks, so called, and one acre and a i|uarter of 
Salt Meadow, he not disturbing my said wife, 
Esther, in her improvements as before mentioned, 
to be to him, the said Charles and to his heirs on 
the following conditions, namely : That he. the 
said Charles, shall find au<l provide my said wife 
with fire wood, cut fit for the fire, as long as she 
lives, and also shall take care of my said wife's 
stock summer and winter and keep her fences 
in good repair ; but if said Charles shall fail to 
perform said conditions, then my will is that said 
real estate given to him above shall go, and I 
hereby give it to said society of Amety to sup- 
port a minister as aforesaid. My will further is 
that if said Charles shall die. leaving no issue of 
his body lawfully begotten, the said real estate 
given to him as above shall go to the said society 
of Amety for their use aforesaid. My will also 
is that said Charles shall bring no family into my 
house during the lifetime of my said wife but 
his own. I also give to said Charles Sanford my 
year mare. Item — To Stephen Sanford, Jr.. of 
Bethany, my nephew. I give and bequeath the 
use and improvements of the following pieces of 
land after my wife's term and estate therein shall 
be ended, namely : .\11 my land 1\ ing at a ])lace 
called Grindum. exce])ting thirty acres on the 
south of saiil land, said thirty acres to be fifteen 
rods wider on the east line than on the west, 
and the barn standing thereon, also all mv land 
called .Sherman lot. My will furthei is tiiat av 
the death of said Ste]>hen. said two pieces of 
land shall go. and I do give it to his eldest male 
heir and to his heirs forever: but it the 
said Stephen shall leave no male iieir. 
then to his female heirs equally and their 
heirs forever. Item — To Zadock Sanford, of 
llelhany, I give and l)e(|ueath all my 
right called mine lot. lying at a place called 
Mad Mars I lill, to him and his heirs forever, he 
not disturbing my said wife's im])rovements as 
before expressed. Item — To my negro servant, 
Jesse, I give and bequeath and to his heirs and 
assigns forever, thirty acres of land on the south 
side of the (irindum farm, which is to be fifteen 
rods wider on the east line than on the west, 
after my wife's term and estate therein shall be 
ended, and I do hereby manumit my said servant, 
Tesse, and give him his freedom after the death 



of my said wife. I also give him liberty to live 
in my old house during his natural life. Item — 
Mv will further is that my Bradley lot, so called, 
shall be sold b_\' my executor to pay my just debts 
and legacies and charges of settling my estate, 
and if there be any overplus it shall go to my 
said wife, Esther, and to her heirs and assigns 
forever. Item — I give to Ebenezer Sanford, of 
Newton, for the love and good will which I have 
to him. twent}' pounds lawful money Item — I 
give and bequeath to Hannah Hainson, Oliver 
Sanford, Jonah Sanford and Joseph Sanford, 
children and heirs of my brother, Joseph San- 
ford. late of Litchfield, deceased ; my sister, 
Esther Bristol, and Abagail Pierson and to 
Joseph Sanford, Oliver Sanford, Aaron Sanford, 
Elihu Sanford and Eunice Stoddard, children 
and heirs of my brother, David Sanford, late of 
Milford, deceased, and to Isaac Sanford, to each 
of them one great Bible, to be purchased by my 
executor within one year after my decease, or 
so much lawful money as is sufficient to purchase 
a great Bible for each of them. Lastly I do 
hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my said 
wife, Esther Sanford and Deacon Amos Perkins, 
of said New Haven, executors of this my last 
will and testament, and my will is that Deacon 
Perkins have a handsome reward for his trouble 
therein in confirmation of all that is before writ- 
ten, revoking and disannulling all former wills 
and testaments by me made, I hereunto set my 
hand and seal this 8th day of January, A. D., 
1779, signed, sealed, published, pronounced and 
delivered by the said Stephen Sanford as and 
for his last will and testament in presence of 
us witnesses signing in his presence and in the 
presence of each other. 

(Si£;ned) STEPHEN SANFORD [Seal.| 




;\.mos White Sanford. son of Stephen Sanford. 
was born in Connecticut and throughout his 
entire life followed farming in that state. He 
married (Jbedience Atwater, who was also of 
English lineage, and was a direct descendant of 
David Atwater, one of the original planters of 
New Haven, Connecticut. David Atwater. the 
English ancestor, was also a follower of William 
the Conqueror, and fought with distinction in 
the battle of Hastings. Lioth Mr. and ^Irs. .San- 
ford died at Hamden. Connecticut. 

G. A. Sanford acquired his education in the 
public schools of New Haven and Hamden. Con- 
necticut, and was reared upon his father's farm, 
early becoming familiar with the duties and la- 
bors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist, but 
his ambition ior a business career led in another 

direction. Believing that he might enjoy bet- 
ter business opportunities in the west, lie came 
to Illinois, in December, 1836, making his way 
to Alton, and the following year came to Rock- 
ford and established a dry-goods store at the 
southeast corner of Main and State streets. He 
continued in business there for several years, his 
patronage steadily increasing, making possible 
the erection of a large building in order to have 
space for his constantly increasing stock. He 
conducted that business for some time, its 
growth being attributable to his enterprising ef- 
forts, earnest desire to please his patrons and 
his conformity to a high standard of commercial 
ethics. In 1838 he was appointed deputy sheriff 
and served in that capacity for four years, while 
in 1842 he was elected sherifif and served until 
1844. While acting as deputy sheriff he rode 
on horseback over the country to a great extent, 
and one day while riding north of the river sev- 
eral miles above the town he looked across the 
stream and saw a dark object in the tree. Ford- 
ing the river, he climbed the tree and found a 
canoe containing the mummy of a Pottawatomie 
squaw. Unfortunately no effort was made to 
preserve this mute testimonial of the wild life 
that preceded white settlement. From 1838 until 
1844 he collected all the taxes of \\'innebago 
county. No public trust reposed in him was 
ever betrayed in the slightest degree, for he was 
prompt and efficient in discharge of his duties. 
]\Ir. Sanford was one of the organizers and trus- 
tees of the Rockford Insurance Company. (Jne 
of the many services of Mr. Sanford for the 
city of Rockford was securing the postoffice for 
Rockford. A town had been started on the low 
land where the Kishwaukee joins Rock river — 
supposedly called Kishwaukee — and at this time 
it was proving a formidable rival to Rockford. in 
that it bade fair to get the postoffice instead of 
Rockford. Government was sending out an agent 
to make decision in this weighty matter and he 
was coming to Kishwaukee instead of Rockford. 
It was in the early spring just as winter was 
loosening its icv grip. With a horse and cutter, 
and John Piatt as a companion, Mr. .Sanford 
started for the settlement at the north of the 
Kishwaukee, but for some reason they took the 
road down the west side of the river. The day 
was warm and the fears of the two men were 
aroused lest the ice go out before they reach 
their destination and leave them on the wrong 
side of the river. Sure enough with a prolonged 
cracking the river began to break. Putting their 
horse to a run they soon covered the remaining 
distance, and while one hitched the horse to the 
fence the other ripped of¥ a board, and with this 
board they bridged the chasms between the float- 
ing cakes of ice that were too wide to jumj) and 



so made their way safely to Kislnvaiikce and the 
postoffice commissioner. Tlie facts and logic 
won the day. and they returned to Rockford 
with a hired team up the cast side of the river, 
with the postoffice in their pockets and sent a 
boy down to brinjj back their horse and cutter. 
Perhaps nothing: has been a greater factor in the 
prosperity of tlie city than the Water Power 
Company, which was organized July 15. 1851, 
and of which Mr. Sanford was an active mem- 
ber. It was Mr. Sanford's help that made it 
possible for Thomas Rutterworth to successfully 
organize and carry on the Rockford Gas Com- 

In 1838 Mr. Sanford built the first tlatboat 
at this place and loaded it with potatoes and 
merchandise for the St. Louis market and 
twenty-four years later he was connected with 
the sending of the first carload of grain that was 
shipped from Cherry \alley. He was likewise 
interested in the building of some of the rail- 
roads, and the newspapers of that day give ac- 
count of his co-operation in these enterprises, 
showing that he took large contracts for the con- 
struction of the lines. From 1844 until 1847 ^^e 
was engaged in general merchandising at the 
corner of State and Main streets, where the Sec- 
ond National r)ank was afterward located. 

It was during the early days of his residence 
in Rockford that he also became a leading factor 
in financial circles. On the ist of January, 1855, 
the banking firm of Dickerman. Wheeler & Com- 
pany was organized with Mr. Sanford as one of 
its members. In 1856 the firm was changed to 
Lane, Sanford & Company, so contimiing until 
August I. 1864. when the business was reorgan- 
ized under the name of the -Second National 
Rank of Rockford. Mr. Sanford at that time 
was chosen cashier, and soon afterward was 
elected president, acting in the latter ca|)acity up 
to the time of his death. 

Mr. Sanford was three times married. In 
February, 1837, he married F.lizabcth IT. lias- 
sett, who was born in the state of New York in 
1813. He returned east for his bride, and on the 
2d of .Xpril, 1838, they arrived in Rockford. In 
1844 they united with the First Congregational 
church, and were very active in its work, Mrs. 
Sanford being one of the original members of the 
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society formed in 
the First church in 1838. She was one of the 
forty-seven charter members of the Second 
church, sang in the choir for several years and 
tr«jk a most active and hel])ful i)art in the church 
work imtil failing health prevented lur further 
co-f)|)eration in its activities. She died in ( )c- 
tobcr, 1857. They had one son. wlm died in 

In 1858 Mr. Sanford married Harriet .\ustin. 

of Skaneateles, New York, who came from a 
New York family of sterling worth. She was 
a woman of rare native ability, and exercised a 
wide intUience in both the religious and the so- 
cial life of Rockford. She was one of the most 
helpful workers in the Second Congregational 
church and missionary society. She founded 
the Monday Club, the oldest literary club in 
Rockford. and was most hospitable in entertain- 
ing her friends. After a ])rolonge(l and ])aintul 
illness, which she bore with great Christian forti- 
tude, she died in 1879. 

For his third wife Mr. Sanford chose !Miss 
Clara Goodall. a daughter of David G. and Maia 
Dearborn (French) Goodall. Her father was a 
native of Rath. New Hampshire, and her mother 
of Landaff. New Hampshire. He is descended 
in the paternal line from John \\'hitney. who 
emigrated from London, in 1635, and settled at 
^\'ate^town. Massachusetts. .Ml of this descent 
"can claim the blood of some of those whose 
names are most familiar in English history — 
the Saxon king, .\lfred the Cireat. and Fdnumd 
Ironside : the Normans, ^^'illiam the Conqueror 
and Henry I : the Plantagnets, Henry II, John, 
Henry III and Edward I; to say nothing of the 
royal houses of Scotland, France and Spain, with 
whom these were allied." On her mother's side. 
Mrs. Sanford is descended from Godfrey Dear- 
born, the founder of the family of American 
Dearborns of military fame, and also from Ed- 
ward Gilman. who came to this country in 1638. 
His genealogy runs through the famous knight, 
(iilman Troed-dhu, back to Coel Godeboc. king 
of Britain, ancestor of Henry VII and grand- 
father of Constantine the Great. Mr. I'.oodall 
was a lawyer by ])rofession in his early days, and 
was a son of Ira Goodall, a very prominent attor- 
ney of the state of New Hampshire. David 
Goodall engaged in the operation of flour and 
starch mills and in the lumber business. He 
also conducted a woolen factory, and was owner 
of several stores in Lisboti. Rath and Swiftwatcr, 
New Hampshire. His chief interest was his 
lumber business, however, and this he carried 
on successfully, developing a large trade. He 
likewise practiced law to some extent and was 
one of the most prominent and influent residents 
of his community, contributing in substantial 
measure to its material growth and jirogress. He 
and his father were the builders of the \\"hite 
Mountain Railway of New England, the latter 
being president, wiiile David G. Goodall was 
vice president of the company that constructed 
this line. .\t a later day Ira and David Goodall 
removed to the west and both died in Reloit. 
Wisconsin, where Mrs. David (i. (ioodall also 
passed away. In their family were five children, 
who are vet living: Mrs. Sanford; Blanche, who 



makes her home in Rockford with her sister, 
Mrs. Sanford ; Nelhe P., who is residing in \lc- 
toria, British Cokunbia ; Mrs. A. J. Morley, also 
of Victoria ; and Karl D., a druggist of Las \'e- 
gas. New Mexico. 

Rockford had no truer friend or more active 
co-operant in its interests for the general welfare 
than G. A. Sanford. He kept well informed on 
political questions and issues of the day, but did 
not seek office as a reward for party fealty. He 
served as alderman and in other city and county 
offices, but these came to him in recognition of 
his ability on the part of his fellow-townsmen. 
He was deeply interested in the educational pro- 
gress of the city, and on the 6th of July, 1864. 
was elected a trustee of Rockford Seminary, 
now Rockford College, serving thus until the 
time of his death. On the 6th of June, 1893, '^^ 
was chosen vice president of the board, and 
would have been honored with the presidency 
had he consented to accept. He became a char- 
ter member of the Second Congregational church. 
in which ]\Irs. Sanford is still a most active and 
earnest worker. His name was the second found 
on the subscription list for building the first 
stone church, and owing to the financial condi- 
tion of the country at that time the necessary 
expense of building and equipping the new 
church became so burdensome upon the sub- 
scribers and members of the society that Mr. 
Sanford mortgaged his home' in order that the 
work might go forward. For twenty-one years 
he served as a trustee of the church, and on the 
expiration of that period was presented by his 
co-workers with an elegant gold chain and tab- 
let. January 3. 1887. after a service of thirty 
years as trustee, he was again re-elected, but re- 
signed. On that occasion the following record 
was adopted : "Resolved. That the society of 
the Second Congregational church desires to rec- 
ognize the faithful and efficient services of Trus- 
tee G. A. Sanford. who today completes thirty 
years of continuous service as a trustee of said 
society, and we wish to extend to our friend and 
brother this expression of our sincere thanks and 
high appreciation of his labors in its behalf, and 
that it be placed upon the records of the society." 
The records of the church show that he was the 
first delegate sent out by that organization and 
in 1849, SI' 55- 56 and 57 he was also a member 
of the assessment committee. In 1855 he was 
elected on a committee of five to take action for 
building a new church. He read the report rec- 
ommending the site of the stone church and was 
made chairman of the committee to raise the 
necessary funds for the building. He was one 
of the trustees and usually auctioned the church 
sittings. In i860 he was appointed on the com- 
mittee to liquidate the church debt. His name 

heads the list and the money he gave he was 
obliged to borrow at two per cent, interest a 
month. In 1871 he stated to a called meeting 
of the church the need for internal improve- 
ments of the house of worship and in 1872 was 
made chairman of a committee to raise the nec- 
essary money. In 1882 he was again chairman 
of a special meeting to consider interior changes 
of the church. He could always be relied upon 
to help struggling churches of other denomina- 
tions and up to the time of his death there was 
hardly a church in the city or in the neighboring 
towns that had not received help from him. He 
was always a regular attendant at the various 
church services and he assisted in building four 
Second Congregational churches in Rockford. Al- 
though Mr. Sanford took a keen interest in 
politics, beyond serving as alderman, sheriff and 
school commissioner, he never took any official 
position. He was a whig and republican. One 
side of Mr. Sanford's character, that would not 
be noticed by the public, was his intense love for 
flowers and animals. Flowers were almost like 
living things to him and his comradeship with 
all animals was often amusing — the cat and all 
her kittens following in his wake wherever he 
moved and the canary bird perching on his 
finger or head. 

He died very suddenly, March 16, 1894, at 
three o'clock in the afternoon just as the bank, 
of which he was president, w^as closing its doors 
after the business of the day was over. The in- 
fluence of such a man, however, will long he 
felt. It remains as a blessed benediction to those 
who knew him and as a potent force in the lives 
of many with whom he was associated. His 
life proved that an honorable name and success 
may be won simultaneously. In his business af- 
fairs he prospered year by year but he never 
selfishly hoarded his gains. He believed that he 
was merely the steward into whose hands the 
worldy possessions had been given and he was 
free and generous in his donations to help worthy 
charit}'. In his later years, when crowned with 
honors and wealth, he stood just where he did in 
his early life — as the champion of character 
rather than of competence, and is an advocate 
of right living in every relation. "An honest 
man is the noblest work of God" and G. A. San- 
ford was an honest man. 


Frederick Champ, to whom there has come 
success as the direct result of well directed efifort 
in the active affairs of life, so that he is now en- 
abled to live retired, is a resident of Rockford 
and a native of England. His birth occurred in 



London, Ft-briiary 23, 1829. his parents being 
Thomas and Hannah (I'eak) Champ, in wliose 
family were two daughters and four sons. The 
father was a carver and gilder. 

I'Vederick Champ ac(|uired only a common- 
school education, antl in his native land he re- 
mained until i!;<54, when, with the hope of enjoy- 
ing better business advantages in the new world, 
he crossed the Atlantic, landing at Xew York 
city on the 6th of July. From the latter place 
he went direct to Rockford. Illinois, and for 
many years was identified with its business inter- 
ests. He was first employed by the firm of Clark 
& Utter, with whom he continued for some years 
as a molder, afterward receiving promo- 
tion to the position of foreman and later of 
sujierintendent, in recognition of his capability 
and long continued and faithful service. He re- 
mained with that finn until 18S3, when he re- 
tired from the active management of the business 
and retired to private life, since which time he has 
enjoyed a well earned rest. In the meantime, as 
his financial resources had increased, he pur- 
chased proi)erty and is now the owner of de- 
sirable realty, from which he derives a good in- 
come, and the supervision of his property inter- 
ests is the only business that claims his attention. 

i'.efore coming to Rockford .Mr. Champ was 
united in marriage in England to Miss I'rances 
Lucas, of .Sioke, I-jiglantl, and they had two chil- 
dren, Edwin !•". and tjeorge H., the latter now a 
member of the Loan and Investment Company of 
Logan. Cash county, L'tah. After traveling life's 
journey together for about half a century .Mr. 
anfl Mrs. Champ were separated by the death of 
the wife, June 19, 1903. .Mr. Chami) is an intel- 
ligent man. devoting considerable time to read- 
ing, so that he is well versed on all subjects of 
general interest. He began life with small means, 
but early manifested the traits of character which 
are always the basis of succes.s — earnest purpose, 
laudable ambition and a willingness to work — and 
in this way he has accumidated a com])etency for 
old age. 

HARLOW n. 1!.WKS. 

Harlow (). Hanks, who was well known in 
business circles of Rockford. being general 
agent here for the Mutual Life Insurance Com- 
j)any of Xew ^'ork, and also active and promi- 
nent in community atTairs, serving as conntv sur- 
veyor of Winnebago couiUy. l«x)k U|) his alxide 
in this city in 1889, removing from Detroit, 
Michigan. He was, however, a native of the Em- 
pire state, his birth having occurred in Chenango 
county, in 1833. His father was born in .\ew 
P.altimore. Xew 'N'nrk. .\ngnst 17. 171)2. while 

the mother's birth occurred in Oeenfield, Xew 
York. July i6, 1796. They spent their entire 
lives in the state of their nativity and Mr. Banks 
was a surveyor, always following that pursuit 
as a life vocation. 

Harlow ( ). r>anks acquired a liberal and practi- 
cal education ^n his native state, where he after- 
ward taught school, following that profession for 
several years, or until the time of his first mar- 
riage. While attending and teaching school in 
the east he also studied surveying and subsequent 
to his marriage he entered the employ of the 
(rrand Trunk Railway Company and before the 
construction of its line in the east he executed the 
survey work 'all over the state of Xew York. 
Subsequently he removed to Detroit. Michigan, 
where he accepted a general agency for the Mu- 
tual Life Insurance Com])any of Xew York, and 
with characteristic energy he began the building 
up of the business in the west and for seven- 
teen years was connected with insurance 
business in Detroit. In 1889 he removed to 
Rockford and was again made general agent for 
the Mutual Life Insurance Company, thus con- 
tinuing in the insurance business until his death. 
Through the management of his department he 
largely increased the business of the company in 
this section of the country. 

Mr. Banks was twice married. His first wife 
died in Detroit, in 1888. They were the jiarents 
of four children : .\ngela. who now resitles in 
Des Moines, Iowa: .Archie W., a resident of 
Rockford. who is now agent for the Mutual Life 
Insurance Company of Xew York : Willie, a 
dentist of Detroit : and Martin .\dell)ert, who is 
one of the leading and prominent dentists of 
Rockford. with offices in the Brown building. 
.After losing his first wife. Mr. Banks was married 
to Mrs. .\ddie E. ( Beardsley) Corey, a native of 
.Xew Brunswick. Xova .Scotia, and a <laughter 
of John and E.xperience (Patterson) P.eardsley, 
both of whom were natives of Xova Scotia, where 
the father was engageel in the lumber business. 
Lie afterward removed to Port Huron. Michi- 
gan, where he continued in the same line until his 
death. Mrs. lieardsley is now living with her 
son in Grand Raj^ids. .Michigan, .\ddie E. 
Beardsley was first married to John Corey, who 
died in Port liuron, Michigan, leaving two 
children : Georgiana. now in Chicago ; and 
Frederick J., who is agent for the .\danis Express 
Com])any. in LaCrosse. Wisconsin. 

.Subse(|uent to his removal to Rockford. .Mr. 
Banks was elected county surveyor of Winne- 
bago county and acted in that capacity for two 
years. He was a stanch re|)ul)lican in his polit- 
ical views, took an active and helpful part in 
[jolitical work and did everything in his power 
to ])romote the growth and insure the success of 




his party. His religious faith was indicated by 
his membership in the Court Street jMethodist 
Episcopal church, to which his widow also be- 
longs. He died in Rockford, December 8, 1903, 
respected by all who knew him. He had gained 
many friends during his residence here and was 
recognized as a reliable business man, whose 
character was such as commanded uniform es- 
teem and confidence. He was loyal in citizenship, 
faithful in friendship and unfaltering in his de- 
votion to his family. In 1893 he erected a nice 
resirence at No. 1008 Franklin avenue, which is 
now owned and occupied by his widow. Mrs. 
Banks is well known in social circles in Rock- 
ford and the hospitality of the best homes is 
freely accorded her. 


Alfred Hall, deceased, was a farmer of Winne- 
bago township, who died in February, 1900. He 
is yet remembered, however, by many friends, 
who appreciate his sterling worth and many good 
qualities and entertained for him warm regard. 
A native of Canada, he was born in London town- 
ship, ^Middlesex courty, in 1833, his parents be- 
ing Alonzo and Malinda (Owen) Hall, both of 
whom were natives of Canada, whence the}- came 
to Winnebago count}- during the pioneer epoch in 
its history, arriving here in January, 1844. The 
father secured a large tract of land and, making 
investment from time to time in property, ulti- 
mately became the owner of about fifteen hun- 
dred acres. Later, however, he sold much of his 
property and went to California in 1850, being 
accompanied by his son Alfred, then about six- 
teen years of age. The father, however, became 
ill in the Golden state, dying within three or four 
months and the son afterward returned to the 
farm in Illinois. His mother continued to reside 
here until 1893, when she passed away at the age 
of eighty-four years. In their family were four 
children. The eldest, Mrs. Sophia Hartwell, was 
for twenty-five or thirty years a resident of Ma- 
son City, Iowa, subsequent to which time she 
made her home in Winnebago township until her 
death, which occurred several years ago. Alfred 
is the second of the family. Joshua left this sec- 
tion of the country a number of years ago. Char- 
lotte, the widow of George Hudson, is now resid- 
ing in Belvidere, Boone county, Illinois. 

Alfred Hall was but a boy when he came with 
his family to Winneb-'go county, and here he was 
reared amid pioneer environments. Following 
his father's death he returned home, but three 
years later he again went to California, where he 
engaged in mining for several years. He arrived 
once more in Winnebago county, in 1869, and 

then turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, 
which he carried on e.xtensively up to the time of 
his death. He was the owner of one hundred and 
eighty-one acres, which tract is now in posses- 
sion of Mrs. Hall, who still resides upon the 
farm and their sons operate the land. In his busi- 
ness pursuits Mr. Hall was energetic, systematic 
and diligent, and his labors were crowned with 
a gratifying measure of prosperity. Moreover, 
he was strictly reliable in all business transac- 
tions, so that his name was regarded as a syno- 
nym of business integrity. 

In Canada Mr. Hall was married to Miss Em- 
ily McFarlane, who was born in Middlesex coun- 
ty, in 1844, a daughter of Archibald and Jean- 
ette (Bryce) McFarlane, who were also natives 
of Canada, where they spent their entire lives, 
the father passing away in 1865, while the moth- 
er survived until 1894. In their family were 
twelve children, of whom four are now deceased, 
and Mrs. Hall is the only one residing in Winne- 
bago county. By her marriage she became the 
mother of four children — Frank, residing at 
Westfield Comers, is married and has one son, 
Elmer. Fred C. is married and is a farmer, re- 
siding in Winnebago township, but at present he 
is in Colorado. He has three children, Hazel B., 
Helen V. and Archie B. James O. and Alonzo K. 
are at home and are engaged in the operation of 
the farm for their mother. 

Mr. Hall was a republican in his political 
views, stanch in his advocacy of the party, and 
his sons have followed in his political footsteps. 
He was called to several public ofiices, serving 
as road commissioner for thirteen years, and no 
trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the 
slightest degree. He was always true to his du- 
ties, whether of a public or private nature, and 
was thus one of the valued citizens of his com- 
munity, whose worth was widely acknowledged, 
and he gained thereby the friendship and regard 
of man\' with whoi-n he came in contact. 


Patten H. Atwood, at one time an enterprising 
and respected farmer of Winnebago county, gave 
up his life when in the military service of his 
country in the last year of the Civil war, but he is 
yet remembered by many of the older citizens of 
this part of the state. He belonged to a family 
long well known and prominent in Rockford and 
the county. He was born in Canada, April 15, 
1842, and was a son of Joseph Atwood. His moth- 
er died during the early boyhood of her son and 
the father afterward married again. Later he 
brought his family from Canada — his native 
country — to Illinois and purchased a farm in the 
Stillman vallev, in Winnebago county, where he 

i'\si' \\i) I'Ki^iAi ( >i w iwi r. \(,o coL'xrv. 

};a\i- his iimliviilcil iittiiilioii lo .ii;iKiil 
tnral |iiiiMiil> tintil liis lU'atli. 

Ill llio oommnii M'liiiol.s l'aiu-i\ 11. Atwood ao- 
<|inii'il liis oiliK'alioii and in lus \onili lu- assisud 
l\i> I'atlu'f in iIk- oiuralion nf iho I'aim. .nivinj; 
lo him thr liiiulil of liis siTviiTs until lu' naohiMl 
till- a^;«' oi i\\cnt\-oni" voars. wlu'n lu' \va> mar 
ncil anil vlarU'il oni in life on his own account. 
lie wi'iliKd Mi-s Hannah II. .MclMu-ison. a na 
ti\o oi Tanaila, honi I'lhruarv .'i, iS.(J, hir par 
I'lits lioiiij; I'harU's IS. aixl l-idolia !•".. Mol'hoi- 
soi\, \vlu> also oanu- to W innclK»,i;o count\ at an 
early pcrioil in its M-ttli'mcni and improvomont. 
I lor falliiT on^'d in laiininj.; hero for .sovoral 
voars anil then romovod to W isoonsin, whoro ho 
diod. .Mr, and .Mrs. .\t\vood iKvamo tho i»ar- 
onts ot ihroo sous—Ira .\.. who resides iu Jowcll 
oonniy, Kansas, whoro ho is ous^ivjod in farm 
iuj* ; I'vrus llomor. who luarriod t lara .MoAlli.v 
tor and rosidos in Storliuj,;. Illiitois, whoro ho is 
cuf^ajix-d in tho ,yrooor\ hnsinoss, and I'.dward II.. 
who marriid I .illian I'ioivo, and is doalini; in ii.v 
in Kookl\>rd. hoiuj; ouo of tho proiniuom in.I 
piDsporons husittoss moii of this city. 

\fior his marriajiio Mr. .Xtwood sotiloti np.Mi .i 
faun in tho Stillman valloy and onori;x-ticalt\ Ih-- 
^an tho cultivation of tho soil and tho improvo- 
ntont of tho place, which soon ,iia\o ovidonco of 
his careful supervision and dilijioucc. I lo had 
carried oi\ farn\in,i< hut a low yo.trs, however, 
when tho I'ivil war hiMko <M<t. His s\iui<athios 
wore with tho I'niou cause and in iS(vj ho oi\- 
listod and with his ivjjimont woiu to HutValo, \ow 
Nork, whoiv he was taken ill with measles and 
after an illness of several months, his death there 
iHXMirrod .\pril 15, iSf\<;, his r^'maiits Ihmu.h iu- 
trrrcd in lUttYalo. 

.Mrs. AiwimhI i\»nliuued lo tx'sido uiH>n tho 
home fanu it\ tho Stillman vallo\ uiuil iSS(». attd 
there irarod her sons, hut m tho \ear montioniHl 
she romovotl lo K>vkfi>nl, whoro she has sittce 
made Iter Itome. t\ow nsidiu}; al \o. 11J5 X'iuth 
strtTl. She l>eIi>nK^ lo the Metltixlist l'"pisco|Xi>l 
chtttvh. of which her Ituslvtnd was also a moiu- 
In-r, and her U'li^ious faith has Iveu a pormoaliuji' 
intlnenco in her life, dovolopiuj; trails oi character 
that have wott her m.inv friends. 

1> \\ IP > \MI'l I- 

! well known as a ivpivseittative 

a^;■ Owen township, was l>on« \n 

Slialer lownslup, Mlojiheiu t>nu\ly, IVunsylva- 
uia, }\\\\ (\ iS4,v at»d ix>pr»'seuis ot«e of the old 
families of that state. His |v\terual ,»;rai\dfalhcr. 
Jrt' I i\alivc of t.'«imK'rland cxiuu- 

tv !i * Vl.^^HT J5. i~5<>, autl w:^s 

of Smteh an»xs(r\ He servt^l liis cxMtut' 

soMuf in tile Kovolntionary war under lioneral 
Washington ami after the ostahlishmont of the 
now repnhlic he locitod in .\llo,i;hen\ comity, 
IVnnsvlvania, takini; up government huul iu 
Shaler township. Ho hocame captain of a coiu- 
pauN of militia and while ho was on militar\ duly 
his wife and children wore carried olV h\ the In- 
dians, hut the same nijiht a sipiaw returned the 
familv In canoe while tlie hravos of tho trilv were 
havinv; a dance. James Sample Iniilt the first 
urist mill in .\llesjhony county, iu 17*K>. and was 
otherwise actively idonlilied with tho a.i;ricuttural 
and industrial dovolopitiont of the stale. 

William .Sample, father of Havid .Sample, was 
horn in I'oimsxlvania, July jS, iSoo, and pursued 
his education iu the puhlic schi^>ls. He worked 
for his father up to tho lime of his marriage, 
which occurred Aujiusl jS, i8jS. Miss Jane 
Andorsi>n luvomiuj; his wife. She was horn Jan- 
uary i(>, 1S07. .\t that time W illiam Sample re- 
ceived from his father a i^ift i^i aKnil lour huu- 
ilrod ;icros of land, and ho ciMitinnoil to on,i;aj;o in 
larmiuji; and also couductoil a millinj; hnsinoss, 
which was estahlishod hy his father, until 1871. 
in which \car he sold lite romamini; one him- 
drod and t\>ri\ acres of tho old home place which 
his lather had nivou him. ha\ inj;- in the meantime 
disposed of tho rest of the farm. He received 
for this trad of one hundred and forty acres one 
hundred and ninety thousand dollars from a land 
compau\ thai snhdivided it into lots, and it is now 
tho horouv;h of Millvalo. \\"illiam .Sample then 
tvmoved lo .Sharpshur?;. IVnusylvauia. whoro he 
spout his romainiuj;' davs. and several times he 
visited his son Haviil iu \\ innolKtso county. I'or 
forty-tive years he served as a memlKT of the 
school hi\-»rd in his vlisirict and was always ac- 
tivclv and helpfully inton-stod in puhlic atYairs. 
\\c passed awa\ .\u.v;nsi 15. iSoi, and his wife 
diod iu April. i8Sj. Ihov were the i>arents of 
ei.uht childiXMt-- RoIhti .V.. James. John. Martha. 
William H Marjiaret I.. l\>vid and l-.liza- 
Wth A 

Havid >.inipic pursuovl his inhication iu the 
puhlic .schiH^ls auvl was reau-d upon Itis father's 
farm, iweivin.i; there tho training; that tilted him 
for earryiuj; on a similar business entorj^rise iu 
later years. Two days InMoro tho oii^huvnth an- 
uivers;\ry of his birth he ix-spoude*l to his coun- 
try's call for tr\H>ps. eulisliujj iu the I'uioti army 
on the 4llt of July. t8(M. as a memlxT of Com- 
(vuiy A. .Si\iy-stv»Mid IVnu.sylvauia Infantry. He 
was mustond into service al rittsburt; and afler- 
warvl went to Harrisburj;. where he niuaiuol f>^r 
two wevks. SuKs«]uently he went to l?^»ltimore. 
and later with his command to W'aslutt,»;lon. D. 
I .. where the n\uimonl rtMuaiueil tor a month, 
and was then onioned to \rlins;ion Heiijbts. }::\v 
i"C '"'o winter nuarlers tte;tr Falls church. In 
the st>rit>s: of tfVxj the Sixty-secxmd marcheti to 

TAST wn I'Kl-Sl'XT Ol' W I \ X I'.l'.Ai IC) COUNTY 


I'";ui"l'ax t'oiirt Ihnist.- ;iiul was soon alU'iwaril 
sent to Ak'xaiulria, w liovi' llu'\ took- transports 
I'or I'lirtrrss .Monroe. Alter .1 sliorl linic llu'\ 
ni.irolu'il to I'.ii; Tu'llu'l, auil later to Norklown. 
anil .Mr, Sanipli" participated in llie sie^e at lliai 
place ami in tlic cnijayen touts at 1 lanovcr (,'ourl 
ilonse. Mcchanicsvillo. tiaincsville anil MaKern 
Hill. In llie l;'.st named he \v;'>s shot in the I'iyht 
arm and hip and was taken to the hospital on 
llcdloo's island. .\s soon ,is possihle he started 
to rejoin his re^inienl. Inn insier.d oi' heinj^' al- 
lowed to do ■^o he pl.ieed on detached duty 
at {'"ort llamillon. I.,ilei'. iio\\e\er, he was with 
his command in the h;ittle of .Mine Kini, ami 
after th;il litiardcd the railroad from Manassas to 
He.'.llon Station nntil startin,i;' with ticneral (Irani 
on the Wilderness cam])ais'ns. .\lr. ,Sam|)le re- 
cei\-ed .an honoralilc dischar.Ljc in July. iSh.]. h.av 
ini.; for ihree years valiantly dcfemU'd his conn- 
try, dnrin.y which time he ne\er faltered in the 
|icrformance of any dnl\. lie was often where 
the leaden h.ail fell thickest and a,L;;iin on the lone- 
1\ picket line .■nid .al all limes he displayed the 
loyalt)- and \:dor of many a vclei'an of twice his 

hollowini; his relnrn home. .Mr. .'>.\mple assist- 
ed in the operation of his father's farm nnlil 
1871, when the ])ropcrty was sold. He spent the 
succeedinj.;' live years in Ir.ivel, after which he 
came to W'inneluii^o conntv and pnrehased on* 
hnmlred and sixty acres of l;nnl. which he has 
since imjiroved. dcvotini;' his .illenlion \miirini;l\ 
to as'ricnitnral interests in is one of ihe rich- 
est farminj;' districts of this jLjrcat slate. It was in 
the year of his removal to \\'inneha,i;o connly 
that Mr. .'-i.ample was married, on ihe ,^d >>\ ,\la\. 
iSjd, to .Miss .Melinda Steward, a^hler of 
James and Mary (Smith) .Steward, whoari' men- 
lioneil on another aj;'c of this work. I'heir chil- 
dren ,ire ;is follows: Steward, who maiiied Miss 
I nl.i \la\ I, is livini;' in Waterloo, Iowa, and 
llie\ lia\e t \\ o ehildrcn. l\oss. who joined the 
1 niled St;itCS navy as an .ippienliee and remained 
in die scr\'iee for live \ e.iis ,iml Iwo monllis. he- 
inu; with ihe \il.inlie sipiadron on ilu Kear.sarsi'c 
ami ,ilsii on odiers as coxswain, is now ai home, 
le.ii.i, ihe \onn!L;esl, is also at lionie. 

In his political views Mi'. .S;nn]ilc is a stanch 
repnlilicm and hcloni^s lo Xevins post, \'o. t, 
I I, \. K., of Kockfnrd. lie is aUo a memher of 
llu' I'armers' lieiiexolenl \ssoci.alion and 
is inleresled in all peil.iins in pnhlie improvc- 
menl and ;idvanccment, .yivini;' his co-o]H'ration 
to many measnrcs for tlic .general welfare, lie 
now has in his possession his L;i-andfa(hcr's old 
clock, wliich is more than one hnmlred \cars old, 
and keeps correct lime. Ft w,as reeentlv ii'paired 
hy a clock-maker. '.•, ho said lh;il it woidd nm for 
another eenlnr\. Mr. Sample i;;iined .a w ide 
.•ie(|nainlanee dnrinq' th<> lhirl\ \ cars of his resi- 

dence in this county ;md is known as ,a man of 
lirm convictions and slcrlin.i; worth, who mav 
well he classed amoni; the representative cili/.cns 
ol ( >wen lownshiii. 

w II I I \M .1. ni' I \ \i \ n.-.K. 

W'illiam J. De 1 .a iMalcr, servins;- as supervisor 
of IVcatonica township, is cn,i;a!.;ed in hnsiness as 
a hlack.smilh, dealer in htij.;gics and f.irm machin- 
ery. He was horn l''ehrnary jj,. 1854, jn Tusca- 
rawas connly, ( )lno, ;md when only seven months 
old was taken lo Indiana li\ his p.neiils, U.dpli 
and Sn.sanna (/.nhlin) I )r I .1 M.iiei. Ihe lailier horn in ( Jlse.U'o eoinilx. Xew \ 01k. and lol- 
lowins;- Ills removal to ()|n,., married in Ma 
riella, that slate. A deiiiisi |i\ profession, he 
praclieeil for thirty live years in soulhem Indi 
;ma, and he died in IVlcnsljuri;-, that stale, ,ii die 
;i,i;e of seventy-three years, while his wife passcil 
away in iledfoial, lndi,ana. in 1X50, Tlie\ wore 
the p.areiils of seven ehildreii K. I,., w ho lost his 
life i!i the hallle of ( h;nnpion Hill, while servinj;- 
ill llie Iweiilv foniili Indi.nia \dhmleer In- 
f,inlr\ ; .\nna \,. who heciine Ihe wife of ( leori^c 
H. Il.aleman, and died in Hnntin.LjIon. Indi.ana; 
h;ilen, Ihe wife of II. X. of rovll.ind, 
( ire.udu. and the mother of two sons and .1 d.iii.i;li- 
ler: h'raiiccs. who hccanie ilu- wife of K', ||. 
.Moses and died in .Scdalia, Missouri, in iStjo; 
W .ilier, who married .M.ariha l.aswell, l)\ whom 
he had seven chiMreii. ,ind died in Joneshoro, .\r- 
kansas : Ida M.. the wile of .Mieh.ael Sweenv, 
who is superintendent of ihe M inne.ipolis \- ,S|. 
I.onis l\,ailroad, liviiiL; al ,\l inne.ipoji.s. Minne- 
sota. h\ whom she nine ehihlrcn : .and \\ il 
liam I., of ihis review . 

William I. De I .a .Maler reared in Indi- 
ana, aci|ini-in.i; his education in Ihe pnhlie schools. 
;md in 1S71 he came to Wiiineh.-.j^o eonnlv. Illi- 
nois, hein.u; al lime .alionl seveiileen \ears of 
;i.i;e. He lirsl workial as .a f.aian li.aiid for .alionl 
three years and lluai enlered llie eniploe of \\. I ). 
rellihone. ,a hl.acksmilh. with whom he rem.ained 
lor iliiee years in I'ecalonica. ;md then removed 
lo Minneapolis, where he work-ed in the shops of 
ihe street eoinp.ain. \firr .ni .ahsence 
ol ahoiil fwv \e,irs he nlmneil li> I'eealoiiiea ,and 
purchased llie shop of Is. I ). rellilioiie. He has 
lieeii in liusiiiess here eon|innonsl\- since, .■nul is 
nol onl\- :\\\ expert horsesiioer .and i^eneral hiack- 
smilh. having; hnill up a repnialion in Ihis line 
second to none, hut is .also a dealer in line hu.u'.y-ics 
and vehicles of all descriptions, in hicycles and in 
laian iniplemeiiis. I le ever hccn a lover of 
line horses and he now owns five head of repfLs- 
lered sl<iek. His fax'orile hcirsc is one which he 
pnreh.ased in ihe sonlh in Ihe sprint;' of 11)05 — 

1 62 


Hal Spy — a liiit.- type of lliu lij,'lu lianiiss horse. 
Mr. Dc l,a .Mater lias a liberal patronage in both 
branches of his business and is regarded as one 
of the representative merchants of his town. 

On the 4th of November, 1875, was celebrated 
the marriage of William J. De La Mater and 
Miss Edie Hitchcock, a daughter of Horace and 
Henrietta (Wells) Hitchcock. Her father came 
from New York state to Illinois at an early day 
and cast his lot with the pioneer settlers of Sew- 
ard township, Winnebago county. He entered 
land from the government and broke the raw 
prairie, transforming it into cultivable fields. He 
was here before there hatl been a railroad built 
and hauled his wheat to Chicago and Galena. 
His death occurreil when he was only thirty-five 
years of age. His brother William is the only one 
left of a large family and he is now living on the 
old home farm of his father, at the age of almost 
ninety years. Mrs. De La Mater was the eldest 
of four children. Her brother John married Miss 
Jennie Stockburger, by whom he has two chil- 
dren, Homer R. and Edna L.. and they reside 
u])on the old Hitchcock homestead in Seward 
township. Laura is the wife of iMoses Mitchell, 
residing at Bingham Lake. Minnesota, and they 
have three soi-.s. Wallace. Horace and John. Abi 
married Charles Stockburger and died in I'eca- 
tonica township. 

Mr. De La Mater, prominent and influential in 
community affairs, has been president of the town 
board and is now supervisor, having served four 
terms. He is a member of Rawson lodge. No. 
145, A. F. & .\. M.: Winnebago chapter. No. 
24. R. .\. M., and Crusader comniandery. No. 17, 
of Rock ford. He has always voted with the re- 
publican party and has firm faith in its principles. 
L'nto him and his wife has been born a daughter, 
whose birth occurred September 7. 1892, and the 
family is well known in Pecatonica, where they 
have many warm friends, and where the business 
record of Mr. De La Mater has been such as to 
win for him the unr|ualified regard and trust of 
his fellow townsmen. 


Dr. Russell Broughton, neurologist and also 
specialist in the treatment of opium and other 
drug addictions and founder of the Dr. Brough- 
ton .Sanitarium at Rockford. Illinois, was born in 
Racine, Wisconsin. May 16, 1842, his parents 
being John and Amanda Broughton. who, in 
1841, started for the middle west, traveling by 
team to .Mbany township, Green county, Wis- 
consin. The father entered a quarter section of 
land from the government and at once began 
to clear and cultivate it, transforming the raw. 

undeveloped tract into rich and productive fields. 

There he continued to engage in farming until 
his death, which occurred in 1896. He is still 
survived by his widow. 

Reared to farm life. Dr. Broughton pursued 
his early education in the public schools and 
later entered Milton College, at Milton, Wis- 
consin. He also studied in Bryant iS; Stratton 
Business College, in Milwaukee, and, prepar- 
atory to entering upon the practice of medicine 
and surgery, he matriculated in Rush Medical 
College, of Chicago, in which he completed the 
full course and was graduated with the class 
of 1869. Lie located for practice in Broadhead, 
Wisconsin, where he remained for twenty-one 
years, and as a general practitioner he enjoyed 
an extensive patronage. His first exclusive work 
in the lines of his specialty was in connection 
with the Keely Institute, at Dwigiit, Illinois, 
where he remained for nine and a half vcars, 
in charge of all opium and other drug patients. 
He then came to Rockford and established the 
Dr. Broughton Sanitarium. 

This institution, constantly widening the field 
of its beneficent work, has accomplished great 
good during the four years of its existence. 
Coming to Rockford. Dr. Broughton leased Dr. 
Ransom's sanitarium, a properly located on Rock 
river, opposite Harlem Park. He had already 
earned a high reputation as a specialist in the 
treatment of nervous diseases and attribut- 
able to drug and alcohol addictions and was 
most cordially assisted by his fellow physicians 
having patients requiring such treatments. He 
had a very wide acquaintance and his patronage 
increased so rapidly that his accommodations 
proved inadequate and he purchased the Keyt 
residence on Rock river, just south of the city, 
there opening his new sanitarium in June, 1902. 
He took possession of a building, beautiful and 
spacious, which had been originally erected at 
a cost of thirty thousand dollars, while later 
much more had been expended iti improvements. 
Dr. I'roughtoii continued the work of improve- 
ment, while refitting it for .sanitarium purposes. 
The large ballroom on the third floor was divided 
into sleeping rooms, finished differently and 
furnished in homelike fashion. The first and 
second floors were also decorated throughout 
and the basement was entirely remodeled and 
divided into a large dining room, club rooms, 
kitclien and other rooms. A complete system of 
plumbing, hot water, heating and electric light- 
ing appliances was installed. The ground, 
covering twelve acres, displays the greatest skill 
of the landscape gardener, and the trees and 
shrubbcrv secure a seclusion like that found in 
a remote woodland, although the sanitarium is 
less than two miles from the center of Rock- 

/?. fd^^^rx^cJc^^ 



The management of the sanitarium is perfect. 
The strictest disciphne is maintained in so kindly 
a way that the place has no air of restraint and 
yet all are under the rules governing the institu- 
tion. Patients have been received from every 
state in the Union and already the commodious 
quarters have been taxed to the utmost to ac- 
commodate the patients. Dr. Bronghton's meth- 
ods of treatment are confined to purely medical 
lines. He is not exploiting any proprietary 
medicine or remedy. His is a home for the 
treatment of habitual diseases along the lines 
that any other specialist would follow and the 
good that he has wrought is immeasurable. 
Rockford may well be proud of this institution 
and its founder and many have reason to bless 
him for the aid received through his professional 
services. He has been a member of the Wis- 
consin Medical Society since 1877 and also be- 
longs to the American Medical Association, the 
Winnebago County and Illinois State Medical 

In manner Dr. Broughton is most genial and 
kindly and is popular and prominent socially as 
well as professionally. In May, 1864. during 
the Civil war, he enlisted at Milton, Wisconsin, 
in Company C, Fortieth Wisconsin Infantry, 
and saw considerable active service. He mar- 
ried in 1869 to Miss Julia A. Smiley, a daugh- 
ter of Hon. Daniel Smiley, of Albany, Wis- 
consin, now deceased, and the\' have two sons : 
William S., formerly a medical student, but now 
auditor in the navy office at Washington, D. C. ; 
and James E.. an employe in a large electrical 
plant at Niagara Falls. Dr. Broughton is a 
member of Bicknell lodge. No. 91, A. F. & A. 
M., at Broadhead. \\'isconsin ; Evansville chap- 
ter, No. 35, R. A. ]\I., at Evansville, Wisconsin; 
and a charter member of W. W. Patton post. 
No. 90, G. A. R., of Broadhead. He stands to- 
day a foremost representative of his line of prac- 
tice, his labors proving of philanthropic worth 
in the world. 


Francis Keeling, for many years closely identi- 
fied with the industrial interests of Winnebago 
county, is now living in Rockford, where for al- 
most a half century he has made his home. Hon- 
ored and respected in every class of society, he 
has for some time been a leader in thought and 
action in the public life of the state, and his name 
is inscribed high on the roll of fame, his honor- 
able and brilliant career adding luster to the his- 
tory of Winnebago county. 

He was born in West Allum, Devonshire, Eng- 
land, August 27, 1827, his parents being Clark 

and Helen (Coolshaw) Keeling. The father was 
a stocking manufacturer, which business he fol- 
lowed for many years in Nottingham, England, 
in which country both he and his wife were born 
and spent their entire lives. Francis Keeling be- 
gan his education in the common schools and 
pursued his studies until his eleventh year, when 
he put aside his text-books in order to enter busi- 
ness life, it being necessary that he assist in the 
work of the stocking factor}'. There he operated 
a machine until thirteen years of age, when he 
left the factory and was employed on a farm. 
Later he became driver of a coach and care-taker 
of horses, continuing in that position for eighteen 
months, when he was promoted to the position of 
coach-driver, acting in the latter capacity for 
three years. He also was employed in brewing 
ale and beer and subsequently secured employ- 
ment in wine cellars, taking his position in the 
vault, but working his way steadily upward until 
he became a bottler of wines, his attention being 
concentrated upon that work for three years. He 
next turned his attention to carpentering, was 
afterward employed by a railroad company and 
later engaged in preparing timbers for vessels in 
the employ of Isaac Wright, a noted vessel con- 
tractor. Completing his agreement with Mr. 
Wright, he then sailed for America, attracted by 
the better business opportunities of the new 
world. Landing at New York city in 1848, he 
soon found employment at carpentering in 
Brookhn, where he remained for six months, 
after which he removed to Rochester, New York, 
where he worked at his trade for one year. Again 
locating in Brooklyn, he was once more identi- 
fied wnth its building interests until 1857, when 
on the 9th of April of that year he arrived in 

Mr. Keeling's entrance into business life of this 
state was as a representative of the builder's trade. 
He worked at carpentering for different con- 
tractors and was employed on many of the prin- 
cipal buildings of the city, including residences, 
churches, school houses and many of the manu- 
facturing establishments on Main street. He also 
worked on the construction of St. Mary's Catho- 
lic church and the old Methodist Episcopal 
church. His next business connection was with 
N. C. Thompson, manufacturing plows, cultiva- 
tors, planters and self-binders, in whose employ 
he remained for two years. He was also in the 
employ of the J. P. Manny Company, manufac- 
turers of binders, and subsequently he embarked 
in business on his own account as a dealer in 
flour and feed at the corner of State and Madison 
streets, where he built up an extensive business, 
continuing there in trade for twenty-one years, 
when he closed out his store and retired to pri- 
vate life. In the meantime he had made judicious 
investment in city property and now devotes his 



leisure hours tu tlie sujjervision of his realty in- 
terests, which return liini a g'ratifying annual in- 

On the 3d of July. 1853, .Mr. Keeling was 
united in marriage to Miss .Mary A. .Morgan, of 
IJrooklyn, .New York, a daugjiter of Thomas and 
Mary (Starr) Morgan. She was born May 25, 
1834, in Wales, and in her early girlliood days 
accompanied her parents on their emigration to 
New ^'ork. in which city she grew to woman- 
liood and was married, l-'ive children have been 
born of this union — Francis, who is now engaged 
in the drug business in Chicago; Thomas Mor- 
gan, wlio is with his brother in Chicago; James 
H., of Rockford ; William B., also a druggist of 
Chicago, and l-'red C. who is engaged in the 
manufacture of perfume on Clark street in Chi- 

In i8yi Mr. Keeling built his home, which is 
an attractive residence, noted for the generous 
hospitality extended to the many friends oi the 
family. .Mr. Keeling iias been a subscrilier of the 
Register since 1859. He belongs to that class of 
men who owe their prosperity entirely to their 
own efforts. The invariable law of destiny ac- 
cords to tireless energy, industry and ability a 
successful career, and the truth of this assertion 
is abundantly verified in his life history, lie had 
but meager advantages in his youth and altlinugh 
he has met many difficulties and obstacles, he has 
overcome these by determined purpose and laud- 
able endeavor, working his way steadily u])ward 
until now he is enabled to enjoy an honorable 
retirement front further business cares and labors. 


William Wortli I'urson, invertor and manu- 
facturer, has attained a ])osition of distinction 
aiuong those whose genius has given to the world 
products that have advanced the material welfare 
and i)rosperity of the nation, in connection with 
liis business interests Mr. I'urson has in substan- 
tial measure contributed to the welfare of Rock- 
ford along the lines of industrial activity. Tlic 
history of many men is but a succession of fail- 
ures, but the life record of Mr. Iiurson is a suc- 
cession of successes. Discouragements have hin- 
dered his progress, obstacles have blocked his 
|)athwa\'. yet ihniugii a |)ersistency of ])ur|)osi. 
l)orn of a knowleilge nf his own power, he has 
continued his lalwrs until his fame as an inventor 
has s])read abroad. 

Mr. I'urson is a native of Pennsylvania and in 
1842 was taken by liis parents to McD<inougb 
Cfiunty. Illinois, and the following year to Fulton. 
where his Ixiyhood and early manhotxl were 
passed, thus sharing the experiences of pioneer 

life. Reared to the occupation of farming, he was 
always interested and much used to the work of 
the fields and soon brought to bear his natural 
mechanical ingenuity upon the improvement of 
the farm machinery. His first work in this di- 
rection of any note was the invention and con- 
struction of a self-rake reaper in 1858, this 
being the first machine to regulate the size of 
favcl by weight. Continued experimenting, study 
and investigatinn made him a pioneer in the in- 
vention of grain hinders and he obtained a jiatent 
on a twine binder in i860. These machines were 
attached to the reaper and operated by hantl, be- 
ing first brought into prominence by being op- 
erated in the great rea]K-r trial at Dixon. Illinois, 
held during the harvest season of 1862. Emer- 
son & Comjiany contracted to make one thou- 
sand machines for Mr. Iiurson for the harvest of 
1863, these being the first thousand grain binders 
ever manufactured. ^Ir. l'>urson came to Rock- 
ford for the puqjose of carrying out the contract 
and resided in this city until iSSi. when he re- 
moved to Chicago. On accnunt of imperfect 
workmanship, lack of field experts and other ad- 
verse circumstances the business of manufactur- 
\:\g and placing upon the market the grain bind- 
ers ])rove(l a disastrous venture financially and left 
him with a large indebtedness, which was not en- 
tirel\ li(|ui(lated until upi. In the meantime his 
llHHights and etiorts were concentrated along 
other lines of invention and mechanical improve- 
ment, and in 1866. associated with the late John 
.Nelson, under the firm name of Burson & Nelson, 
the invention of the family knitting machine was 
undertaken. Mr. Nelson was obliged to give his 
attention largely to the operation of a sash, door 
and blind factory for some time, but Mr. Burson 
a|)i)lied himself closely to the work which he had 
undertaken an<l after much tedious labor on the 
part of both gentlemen a power machine was per- 
fected. Cpon these machines patents were issued 
to Burson & .Nelson in i8('j8, 1870 and 1875, and 
in 1874 they also secured a patent on hose. On 
the 25tli of Decemlx^r, i86t), a part now known as 
the ])resser hook was dcvelojied and on the 23d of 
fill v. 1870. the first sock was knit by an auto- 
matic machine at Rockford. The .socks came 
from the machine joined together and were sepa- 
rated by hand and the toes were also thus closed. 
This was the first practical automatic knitting 
machine. In 1 872-3 the ]iarallel row machine was 
developed, this being tlie beginning of Rock- 
ford's great knitting industry. These machines 
were automatic an<l closed both toe and heel, pro- 
ducing a stocking ready to wear without hand 

Rockford seamless socks were i)ioneers in 
seamless hosiery and superseded the old line of 
goods which before had held the market. .Mr. 
Bursnn continued as a member of tlie firm of 



Burson & Nelson initil 1878. when he withdrew 
from that business and independently continued 
the work of experiment and invention. He has 
continuously studied out new devices, which, put 
to the practical test, have resulted in the building 
of an automatic grain-binding harvester : a knit- 
ting machine with a mitten pattern, having a 
double wrist, with the letters, "pat'd," knit there- 
in, also a patent office model, knitting a stocking 
with a narrow ankle and fancy top, containing 
the letter "B," a ribbed scarf with letters at each 
end, and a shirt sleeve with fancy cuff and wid- 
ening to the body, all of these articles knit with 
change of yarn and on a single pattern upon the 
same needles. Between the years of 1879 ^"d 
1892 ^Ir. Burson developed a number of im- 
portant harvesting inventions which were pur- 
chased by W^hitely, Deering, AlcCormick, Walter 
A. Wood and the Milwaukee and Piano Harvest- 
ing Companies. In 1891 he undertook the perfec- 
tion of knitting machinery and in 1892 brought 
one of these machines to Rockford. These ma- 
chines were modeled after his invention of 1878, 
and their product is now being shipped from 
Rockford to all parts of the United States, an ex- 
tensive factory being kept in constant operation. 
Mr. Burson has been allowed more than fifty 
United States and foreign patents on grain bind- 
ers, harvesters, automatic knitting machines, knit 
fabrics and other lines upon which he has worked, 
and on which he is still actively engaged. "There 
is nothing extemporaneous," said one of Chica- 
go's eminent divines. "Everything results from 
some previous condition of labor." This truth 
is especially manifest in the life of the inventor, 
who may jjerfect in a few- weeks or perhaps days 
an invention which is the outcome of years of 
thought, study and experiment, and all that Mr. 
Burson has given to the world in the way of im- 
proved machinery represents years of close appli- 
cation, earnest investigation and untiring effort. 
He is a man of enterprise, positive character, in- 
domitable energy, strong integrity and liberal 
views and has been fully identified with the 
growth and prosperity of the city of his adop- 
tion. He has, moreover, concentrated his efforts 
in pursuit of a persistent purpose until he has 
gained a most satisfactorv reward. 


Hugh Ferguson, living on section 25, Harlem 
township, is the owner of a farm of two hundred 
and eight acres of arable land, the productiveness 
of which is demonstrated in the fine harvests 
which he annually garners. He was born on the 
2d of November. 1854, in the village of Argyle, 
Harlem township. His parents were William 

and Helen ( Picken) Ferguson. The father was 
born in Campbellstown, Scotland, in 1813 and 
there resided until 1836, when he came to the 
United States, making his way to Cincinnati, 
( )hio, where he lived for four years. On the ex- 
piration of that period he took up his abode at 
Arg}le, Winnebago county, and purchased the 
farm whereon he resided for twenty-two years. 
He then sold that property and bought the farm 
now occupied by his son Hugh, continuing it as 
Iiis place of residence until his death, which oc- 
curred in January, 1884. He learned the carpen- 
ter's trade in Scotland, but in this country his en- 
ergies and attention were concentrated upon his 
agricultural pursuits. His wife was also a native 
of Scotland, having been born in the vicinity of 
Campbellstown about 181 7, and with her parents 
she came to \\'innebago county, Illinois, in 1836. 
Her death occurred here in October, 1883. The 
members of the family are as follows : James, 
born in 1840, died in Rockford in 1895, leaving 
a widow and one son. Alexander, born in Har- 
lem township and now living in Rockford, mar- 
ried .Margaret Ralston, of Caledonia, Illinois, and 
has two children. W. J., a resident of Harlem 
township, wedded Cora E. Ferguson and is liv- 
ing at Rockford. \\'. D., whose home is in Los 
Angeles. California, married Ada Smith, by 
whom he has two daughters and a son, and their 
home is in Rockford. Thomas, living in Rock- 
ford, married Alice Smith, of Byron, Illinois. 
Charles P., of Lake City, Iowa, married Jennie 
Turner, of Argyle. and has one son and two 
daughters. Ellen, born in 1844, became the wife 
of Charles Greenlee, of Belvidere, Illinois, and 
(lied in 1882, leaving a husband and two sons and 
two daughters. Mary J., born in 1846, became 
the wife of James Brysen, of Chicago, Illinois, 
and died in 1869. 

Hugh Ferguson was seven years of age when 
his parents removed from the farm at Argyle to 
the farm in Harlem township, on which he yet 
resides. He was reared to agricultural pursuits 
and has alwavs followed that occupation, being 
now successfully engaged in general farming and 
also in the raising and feeding of cattle. His 
early education was acquired in the common 
schools and subsequently he continued his studies 
in Lounsberry Academy, in Rockford. 

Hugh Ferguson was married March 30, 1897, 
to Cora Belle Bryden and they have a daughter, 
Minnie Helen, born March 7, 1899. Mrs. Fergu- 
son is a daughter of James W. and Olive (Hal- 
sted) Bryden and was born December 9, i864_, in 
Harrison township. She has been twice married, 
her first husband being Henry Barkley, wdno died 
in 1892, leaving three children — Earl H., Fred 
L, and Olive F. Her father. James W. Bryden, 
was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, July 22, 1830, 
and came to America when eighteen years of age. 



landing at New York city. He lived in the 
state of New York and in Pennsylvania until 
185C), when he came to Winnebago connly. In 
1861 he joined the Union army and served for 
four years, being for two years in the commis- 
sary department, while for two years he was a 
member of Company G. Eleventh Illinois Cavalry. 
He married C )live Halstetl. who was born in 
Pennsvlvania, and was brought to Harrison town- 
ship, this county, in her early girlh(X)d days. Her 
death occurred in Rockford in 1893. Mrs. l-'er- 
guson has one brother, William J. Bryden, a resi- 
dent of Shirland township, who is married and 
has a son and daughter. Her sisters are : Mrs. 
Fred Gilmore, of Owen townshi]). who has one 
son ; Mrs. Fred Schoonmaker. of Harlem 
township, who has two sons ; and ^Irs. Frank 
Buchanan, of Rockford, who has one daughter. 

Mr. Ferguson, since attaining liis majority, has 
exercised his right of franchise in support of the 
men and measures of the republican i)arty and 
has done everything in his power to jjromote its 
growth and extend its influence, being recog- 
nized as a local leader in party ranks. He has 
served as justice of the peace and retired in the 
present year, 1905, from the office of assessor, in 
which he had been the incumbent for eight years. 
At the present time he is a member of the school 
board. Fraternally he is connected with Camj) 
No. 661, M. W. A., and with Harmony Grange, 
of which he is treasurer, and he belongs to the 
Presbyterian church. His entire life has been 
spent in this county and he has lived always upon 
two farms, the one upon which he was b<irn and 
the one which is now- his place of residence. He 
has here a valuable property and its splendid ap- 
pearance indicates his careful supervision and 
practical methods. 


Marcus A. Norton, who during the last twen- 
ty years has been honored by being made the re- 
cipient of various offices of public trust, and is 
now filling the position of county clerk in Win- 
nebago county, was born in the town of r)ridge- 
water, Michigan, January 16. 1841. Three years 
later his parents took up their abode in Ann Ar- 
bor, Michigan, so the children might enjoy the 
excellent educational opportunities there offered. 
In 1852 they removed to Rockford, the famil\- 
home being established on the south side in what 
was then the fifth ward. 

Marcus A. Norton attended the .\nn .\rbor 
and the Rockford schools, and the latent force 
of his character was developed by the incidents 
and early scenes of the Civil war. He became a 
stanch advocate of the Union cause, and feeling 

tUai his aid was needed at the front, he enlisted 
as a private in Company G. Forty-fourth Illinois 
Infantry, for a term of three years. With his 
command he went to the south and took part in 
a number of important engagements. At the 
battle of Chickamauga, on the 20th of Septem- 
ber, 1863, he was severely wounded, and when 
the regiment retreated, was left on the field, 
where he was later found by the rebels and 
claimed as a prisoner of war. He was paroled, 
however, with others who were severely injured, 
and on the ist of October, 1863, was taken to 
Chickamauga. Following an exchange of pris- 
oners, he rejoined his regiment, and again active 
service fell to his lot, for he participated in the 
.\tlarta campaign under General Sherman, being 
present at the time of the surrender of the city. 
\\'hen his three years' term had expired he was 
mustered out at .Atlanta. September 17, 1864, and 
with a most creditable military record returned 
to his home. He gave his service freely and will- 
ingly to his country. The important military 
tluties which devolved upon him are indicated by 
the fact that he ])articipated in the engagements 
at Perryville. Stone River, Chickamauga, Lost 
Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain. Peach Tree 
Creek and Jonesboro, together with many of 
the skirmishes and engagements in the vicinity of 
.\tlanta. The story of the great sanguinary con- 
flict which to many is a matter of history is to 
him a matter of experience, and indelibly im- 
pressed upon his mind are many of the scenes and 
incidents which occurred in connection with the 
preservation of the L'nion. 

Mr. Norton has rendered to his country equal- 
ly loyal and creditable service as a public official, 
for no trust reposed in him in connection with his 
official duties in Winnebago county has ever been 
betrayed in the slightest degree. In 1883 he was 
elected supervisor from the fifth ward of Rock- 
ford. and continued in office for three terms, when 
he declined to again become a nominee, from the 
fact that he was a candidate for the office of comi- 
ty clerk in 1886. When the republican county con- 
vention met at Rockford in Jime of that year he 
was nominated by acclamation for the office which 
he sought, and the election in the following No- 
vember showed that he was a successful candi- 
date. .At each recurring convention he has been 
renominated by acclamation, and is now serving 
his fifth term. He takes no special credit to him- 
self for the capable manner which has marked the 
discharge of his official work, regarding it merely 
as his duty, but the general public is free to ac- 
cord him ]>raise for what he has done, and the 
testimonial of the public trust is his frequent re- 
election. .Abraham Lincoln said, "Yon can fool 
some of the .American people all of the time, and 
all of the .American people some of the time, but 
von can't fool all of the American people all of 




the time." It is in this that the safety of Amer- 
ican poHtics hes, and a continuation in an elective 
office is virtual proof of prompt, capable and hon- 
orable service on the part of the incumbent. 

JNIr. Norton was married, in May, 1866. to 
Miss Henrietta Gardner, the weddinsj ceremony 
being performed by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Kerr. 
They lost their only child in infancy. Their home 
is at No. 610 North street, and the social enter- 
tainment there afforded is greatly enjoyed by 
their many friends who are constantly increasing 
in number as the circle of their acquaintance 


Ruggles ^^'. Crumb, now deceased, was well 
known in business circles in Rockford as the pres- 
ident of the R. W. Crumb Lumber & Fuel Com- 
pany. He was born in Otsego county. New York, 
January 2']. 1828, his parents being \'arnum and 
Sophronia Crumb. The father spent his entire 
life in that county and passed away there, while 
]\Irs. Crumb came west to Rockford and died 
here, aged ninety-six years. 

Ruggles \\'. Crumb was a student in the com- 
mon schools in his early boyhood days and after- 
wartl attended the academ_\" in Otsego county, 
thus acquiring a good education and being well 
equipped for the practical and responsible duties 
which came to him in later life. At the age of 
eighteen years he secured a situation in the em- 
ploy of a manufacturing company in Otsego 
county, manufacturers of all kinds of garden im- 
plements, and there his capability and fidelity won 
ready recognition in promotion which eventually 
made him a partner in the enterprise. He was 
engaged in the manufacture of implements at 
that place until 1868, when, thinking that the 
west offered a still broader field of labor, he took 
up his abode in Chicago, where he formed a part- 
nership with, two brothers, establishing a lumber 
business. There he remained until 1877. when 
he removed to Marengo, Illinois, where he con- 
tinued in the lumber trade for three years. He 
afterward spent nine years in a similar enter- 
prise in Belvidere, Boone county, Illinois, and in 
1889 came to Rockford, where he and his two 
children opened up a lumber yard under the firm 
style of the R. W. Crumb Lumber & Fuel Com- 
pany, at No. 709 Seventh street. Mr. Crumb was 
active in the management of this enterprise until 
his death, which occurred January 25, 1902. 

In Otsego county. New York, occurred the 
marriage of Ruggles W. Crumb and Miss Caro- 
line M. Robinson, a native of Otsego county, and 
a daughter of Dr. Plinney Robinson, who was a 
prominent physician of that county, where he and 

his wife spent their entire lives. Five children 
were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Crumb, of whom 
three are living, namely : Haskell A., who mar- 
ried Mary M. Crandall, and resides in Rockford, 
where he is president and treasurer of the R. W. 
Crumb Lumber & Fuel Company ; Grace K., 
who is principal of the Garrison School of Rock- 
ford. and resides with her mother: and Ward C, 
who married Nellie Bennett and is secretary of 
the R. \\'. Crumb Lumber & Fuel Company. 
The other children, Josephine and Arthur, died 
while in Chicago. 

Mr. Crumb voted with the democratic party 
in early life and afterward became a republican, 
but never cared for political preferment. He 
was a stanch advocate of the temperance cause 
and devoted much time to furthering temperance 
principles, while both he and his wife were con- 
sistent and active members of the State Street 
Baptist church. Flis life was at all times hon- 
orable and u])right, being in consistent harmony 
with his professions, and his religion formed a 
part of his daily existence, prompting him to 
honorable dealings in all his business transac- 
tions and to justice and uprightness in all life's 
relations. His name became a synonym for busi- 
ness integrity as well as industry, and he left his 
family an untarnished life record, as well as a 
substantial competence. His widow now owns a 
nice home at No. 1013 Harlem aventie, where she 
and her daughter reside. 


G. A. Stevens, starting out in life for himself at 
the age of ten years, is to-day one of the prosper- 
ous farmers of Winnebago county, located on sec- 
tion 9. Guilford township. He has been a resi- 
dent of this county since 1877 and in earlier years 
was identified with building operations, but for 
some time has been connected with agricultural 
interests. He was born in New Brunswick, New 
Jersey, in 1858, his parents being John and Anna 
Stevens, but the mother died during the infancy 
of her son. The father was a native of England 
and came to the United States when a young 
man. In his youth he went upon the sea and re- 
mained a sailor throughout much of his life, but 
in his later years became a merchant tailor, con- 
ducting business in New York city. He died 
there in July, 181)4, when almost eighty-six years 
of age. In his family were the following named : 
(j. A., of this review : Mrs. Lydia Kennedy, of 
Spottswood. New Jersey ; Jule, who resides near 
Brockport, New York : and Alfred, who is liv- 
ing in Norwich, New York. 

G. A. Stevens, leaving home when ten years of 
age, worked his wav alone among strangers, trav- 

J 72 


cling westward to Wisconsin, and reaching Jef- 
ferson county, tliat state, in April, 1869. He 
made his home there for about eight years, or 
until 1879, when he came to Winnebago county, 
Illinois, settling in Rockford, where he l)egan 
working at the cariK-nter's trade. He was thus 
engaged for about tifteen years and during ihat 
period he located on his present farm. This is a 
good tract of land, whicli is well improved, and 
indicates his careful supervision in its splendid 
appearance and excellent etiuipment. He also 
owns a fine farm in South Dakota. 

In 1887, in Rockford, .Mr. Stevens was united 
in marriage to Miss Amelia Whittle, who was 
born in Guilford township, in 1853, her parents 
being Frederick and Matilda ( IJeers) \\'hittle. 
Her father was born in Canada, September 5, 
181S. and was of French lineage. He was reared 
in the ])lace of his nativity and on coming to Illi- 
nois, located on the state road in (niilford town- 
ship. He was then a young man and began life 
here as an agriculturist. Alx)Ut 1888 he ])ur- 
chased a farm in section 22, Guilford townshi]). 
As a companion and helpmate on life's journev he 
chose Miss lleers. to whom he was married 
March 2^. 1849. 'i"*^' t'ley located upon his farni. 
which continued to be their home until his death, 
which occurred April 26, 1854. In his political 
views he was a republican and in religious faith 
a ISaptist. His wife was born in Somerset. Or- 
leans county. New York, January 22. 1831, and 
was a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Herrick) 
ISeers, who came to this county in June, 1836. 
locating in Guilford township on the state road. 
The father was a farmer and both he and his 
wife died in this county. Daniel Ueers was born 
August II, 1806, in Moore townshi]), Northamp- 
ton county, Pennsylvania, and was married in the 
state of New York, February 11, 1830. In 1834 
he united with the Methodist Episcopal church, 
and in June, 1836, he removed with his family 
to Rockford, reaching his destination on the 13th 
of June of that year. Not long afterward he took 
up his abode in Guilford township, where he re- 
mained until the fall of 1855, when he removed to 
Monroe, Wisconsin, making his home there until 
1863. At that date he returned to Rockford, and 
in the spring of 1868 removed from the city to 
Harlem township, where the succeeding three 
years were passed, when he again took up his 
abode in the cotmty scat, there spending his re- 
maining days, his (leath occurring April 3, 1880. 
He and his wife were among the five charter 
memlxirs of the Methodist church. Mrs. Beers 
\\as born November 30. 1812. in the Empire 
State and was a daughter of Lutlier and Mary 
(Johnson) Herrick, who were also natives of 
that state. Mrs. Beers died in Rockford, No- 
vember 18, 1896, having foi about sixteen years 
sun'ived her husKind. 

Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Whittle were the par- 
ents of two daughters — Emily J., who was born 
in Guilford townshii), February 20, 1850, was 
married to Leonard Marsh, December 15. 1868, 
and died September 17, 1885. Mr. Marsh now 
resides at Topeka, Kansas. Mrs. Whittle was 
married August 23. 1855, to Wilhrd Convers, who 
was born January 20, 1822, in Litchfield town- 
ship, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and was a 
son of Henry Convers, whose birth occurred 
April 7. 177<). and he removed westward to Guil- 
ford township. \\'innebago county, where he re- 
sided until his death, January 3. 1853. Willard 
Convers came as a boy to this county in 1839 and 
resided on section 16. Guilford township, this be- 
ing the farm now occupied by Mrs. Convers and 
by Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. Mr. Convers took up 
land on section 16, the patent of which is still in 
possession of the family. Mrs. Convers will be 
seventy-five years of age in January, ux)6. and 
having been a resident of Guilford township since 
June 13, 1836, has lived longer in this county 
than any other woman now living. 

Mr. Stevens is a stanch repulilican. believing 
firmly in the ])rincii)les of his rarty, and has ac- 
ceptably filled various township offices. So- 
cially he Is a member of Rockford lodge. No. 
102. A. F. & A. M.. and his religious views are 
somewhat in harmony with the doctrines of the 
L'niversalist church. 


Horace lirown. banker and cai>ilalist. whose 
intense and well directetl activity has gained him 
a foremost position in financial circles of Rock- 
ford. was born in Springfield, Windsor county, 
\'ermont, June 24, 1824. His ancestry, both lineal 
and collateral, has through many generations 
been distinctively .Vmerican, but still farther back 
the record leads to Edward Brown, who was born 
in Horton, County Kent. England, in 1501, and 
became one of the early colonists of Ijiswich, 
Massachusetts, sailing from London, England, 
on the ship Hopewell. Representatives of the 
family lived there down to the time of Elisha 
Brown, grandfather of Horace Brown, who was 
br)rn in Ipswich, Massachusetts. January 7, 1748. 
P'oUowing his removal to Ilinghaiu. Massachu- 
setts, he was married there to Merriel Bates, and 
in 1773 removetl to Winchendon, Massachusetts. 
He studied closely the attitude of the mother 
coimtry as she encroached more and more closely 
upon the liberty of the colonists and when the at- 
tempt was made to throw off the yoke of 
British opjiression he joined the .Xmerican army 
and participated in the battle of Bunker Hill 
and other important engagements. In 1778 he 
took up his abode in Springfield, \'ermont. 






Jonathan Brown, father of Horace Brown, was 
born in Springfield, October 5. 1796, and wedded 
Hannah Stocker, who was of Enghsh and 
Scotch lineage. Her father, Elijah Stocker. also 
a patriot of the Revolutionary army, partici- 
pated in the battle of Bunker Hill and also in 
the engagement at Yorktown, where Cornwallis 

In his native county Horace Brown acquired 
a public school education and when not engaged 
with his text-books assisted in the operation of 
his father's farm, remaining at home until twenty 
years of age, when he entered the employ of the 
Hon. William Thayer, a farmer of the neigh- 
borhood. In 1845, however, he turned his at- 
tention to the manufacture of oil cloth in Lan- 
singburg. New York, where he remained until 
1850. when he started for the middle west, reach- 
ing Rockford on the 12th of ;\Iay. He made 
investment in a farm in New Milford township, 
then containing a population of only eighteen 
liundred, and after leasing the property he re- 
turned to the east for his bride. 

]\Ir. Brown was married, September 12. 1850, 
to Miss Mary .\. Thayer, a daughter of the 
Hon. William Thayer, his first employer. Her 
father, better known as Captain Thayer, was 
a man of prominence in his comunity, where he 
served as justice of the peace and was also a 
member of the state legislature for several terms. 
He was engaged in the tanning business and the 
manufacture of shoes. Mrs. Brown was born 
February 16. 1827, and with her husband re- 
turned to his western home, but in the following 
spring they again went east and Mr. Brown ac- 
cepted a position in the oil cloth factory, where 
he remained until June, 1853. 

On that date they arrived in Rockford, where 
they located. Mr. Brown trading his farm for 
property on the west side of the city, while he 
turned his attention to the livery business, form- 
ing a partnership with G. W. Reynolds. The 
new enterprise proved profitable, but after two 
years Mr. Brown sold out and again returned 
to his native town, where he was connected with 
the conduct of several business interests. He 
took up his abode permanently in Rockford in 
1859 and his home has since been on Park Ridge, 
one of the most beautifully located districts of 
the city. He has long figured prominently in 
financial circles. He assisted in the organiza- 
tion of the Rockford National Bank in 1871. 
with Gilbert Woodruff as president : Mr. Brown, 
vice president ; and D. H. Ferguson, cashier. 
Later J\I. S. Parmelle was made cashier and 
was succeeded by ^^^ F. Woodruff, who became 
vice president after the death of his father in 
1875. at which time ]\Ir. Brown succeeded to the 
presidency, and H. S. Burpee was made cashier. 
The bank was organized with a capital of one 

hundred thousand dollars and now has a surplus 
of the same amount. The safe conservative 
policy inaugurated by the bank at the outset has 
alwavs been maintained and the bank almost im- 
mediately took rank with the leading moneyed 
institutions of the state and has been accorded 
a patronage which makes its volume of business 
of a proportion that would be creditable to the 
banks of much larger cities. To other fields 
of business activity Mr. Brown has extended his 
eitorts. In 1892 he was one of the promoters 
of the Forest City Insurance Company, of which 
he has served as treasurer and vice-president 
and also as a member of the board of directors, 
being the only original director now left, and he 
was president of the Insurance Company of the 
State of Illinois during the first years of its ex- 
istence. He has been a factor in public progress 
in community interests and as the champion of 
beneficial public measures his labors have proved 

Mr. and !Mrs. Brown had one son and one 
daughter. William Tha}-er Brown, born in Rock- 
ford, ;\Iarch 2, 1854. is a member of the fimi 
of A. G. Spaulding & Brothers. He resides in 
East Orange. New Jersey, and has his office at 
No. 126 Nassau street. New York city. He 
wedded Miss Mary L. Spaulding on the 24th 
of August. 1875. She was bom October 23, 
1854. and they have four children: Horace S., 
Harriet Irene. William Thayer and Elizabeth. 
Alice C. Brown, born March 26. 1856, was the 
wife of D. H. Ferguson, of Denver, Colorado, 
and died March 23, 1890, leaving a son, Donald 
Bro\\n Ferguson. Carrie A. Brown, born Ju'y 
27. i860, died April 10. 1885. Mr. and Mrs. 
Brown have ever occupied in social circles the 
prominent position accorded in recognition of 
culture, intelligence and long residence, and 
in business circles, where he has been known 
for more than half a century, his judgment is 
regarded as of great value and his name is 


John Hibbard. a retired wagonmaker. residing 
at No. 1443 School street, was born in England 
in 182 1. His father, John H. Hibbard, a native 
of the same country, was a wagonmaker by trade. 
John Hibbard spent the days of his youth in his 
nati\-e country and was about twent_\--nine years 
of age when he crossed the Atlantic to America, 
settling first in Canada, whence he made his wa.y 
to Buffalo, New York. He afterward took up his 
abode in Pike county, Illinois, where he lived for 
two vears, and later removed to Louisiana, Mis- 
souri', where he spent the succeeding ten years. 



On tlie expiration of that periotl he settled in Ne- 
braska, where for twenty years he made his home, 
and then ag'ain went to Canada, S])en<hng five 
years in the IX)niinion. W'lien lie returned to Illi- 
nois he tt)ok up his abode in Rix-ktord. where he 
is now living retired, having for fourteen years 
made his home in this city. In early life he 
learned the wagonmaker's trade and throughout 
the greater ])art of his active business career he 
has followed that pursuit, his industry, persever- 
ance and indefatigable energy being the strong 
elements in his success. l!y tlie careful husband- 
ing of his resources as the years passed he accu- 
mulated a handsome coni])etence that now enables 
him to live retired. 

Mr. Hibbard was married in Dorsetshire. Eng- 
land, to Miss .\nn .Martin, who was born in that 
country in 1831. She is a lady of culture, fond 
of reading, and is seldom found without a book in 
her hands. Mr. Hibbard has also kept well in- 
formed with the progress of the world and the 
t|ucstions of the day through I'.is reading and ob- 
servation. He has twice visited luigland since 
taking u]i his abode in the new world, thus re- 
newing acquaintances of his youth and looking 
again upon the scenes amid which his boyhood 
days and early manhood were passed. He now 
has a nice home where he resides at No. 1443 
School street, and he owns a tract with fort\ 
feet frontage adjnining his lot. his land cover- 
ing an area of one hundred and four by one hun- 
dred and fifty-two feet. He also has a good bank 
account and his prosperity is the rew'ard of his 
efforts, lioth .Mr. and .Mrs. Hibbard are members 
of the r[])iscopal church. They have now trav- 
eled far on life's journey, he having passed the 
eighty- fourth milestone. 

F.. I. N'ENESS. 

There are many men of worth who for lack of 
certain of the essential elements of a successful 
business career have to strive year after year for 
a competence and then fail of its attainment. 
There arc others who by reason of energy, strong 
l)uri)ose and laudable ambition, guided by .sound 
inisiness judgment and ])ractical common sense, 
gain the goal of prosperity and are enabled, in 
their later years, to enjoy merited rest from labor. 
To the latter class Mr. Veness belongs. He is a 
re])resentative of a colony of New ^'ork citizens 
who have been iirominent and active in the u])- 
building of Kockton townshij) and the utilization 
of its natural resources. He was born in Rome, 
New York. January 31, 1836. and his parents, 
James and Charlotte (Gerrish) Wness, were 
both natives of luigland, in which country they 
were reared and married. I'our ni their children 
were Ixmi in that land and in 1833 .Mr. N'eness 

came with his family to the new world. They 
had altogether five children, of whom three are 
living: Mrs. Charlotte H. Douglas, E. J., of 
this review, and .Mrs. Keziah W'aite. Having 
crossed the .Atlantic, the father took U]) his abode 
in N'ernon, New \'ork. where he remained for six 
years, following the occupation of farming. He 
later became a Haptist minister and preached the 
first sermon in behalf of that denomination in 
Uelvidere. IJoone county. Illinois, the services be- 
ing held in the courthouse before its completion. 
He preachetl at various points in the county as a 
pioneer minister, making the journey on foot 
from one ])lace to ant)tlier, for tlie horse which he 
owned was needed in the farm work. He plained 
the seeds of gos])el truth in many a settlement and 
did much to promote the moral (levelojjment of 
Winnebago county in an early day. He arrived 
here in 1839. 'living made the journey by way 
of the lakes to Chicago and thence by team to 
Rockford. after which he drove to Rockton, 
where he remained for six months. t)n the ex- 
piration of that period he removed to Boone 
county, where he lived upon a farm and in cor. 
nection with the cultivation of his land he also 
divided his attention with gospel work, .\fter 
twelve years he returned to Rockton. where he 
engage(l in merchandizing from 1851 until iS(-i2. 
I)eing one of the representative |)ioneer nK-rchants 
there. \\ bile in lloone count v he served as ])ost- 
master for several years, the mail being brought 
from Chicago on horseback at that time. His 
early ])olitical support was given to the whig 
party and he became a .stanch adviicate of the abo- 
lition cause, so that when the republican party 
was formed to prevent the further extension of 
slavery, he joined its ranks, continuing one of its 
stalwart advocates until his death. He was born 
in September, 1 800, and died at the age of eighty- 
two years. He had lived a life of usefulness and 
his memory remains as a blessed benediction to 
many who knew him. His wife passed away 
when sixty-two years of age. 

E. J. N'eness spent the greater ]>art of his youtb 
in Rockton and upon attaining his majority en- 
tered his father's store, thus beconnng a factor in 
connnercial circles in the village. He became a 
partner with his father in the store in 185^) an<l 
st> continued until iSfij, when he ])urchased his 
father's interest in the business, which he carried 
on alone for some time, and eventually admitted 
his son to a partnership. He was active in the 
management and ownership of the store until 
KJ04, when his son became his successor and he 
retired to private life. The business interests of 
the firm had always been carefully managed and 
everv stej) was thoughtfully taken by Mr. \'eness, 
who closely watched the indications pointing to 
success, and in his mercantile career folUiwod a 
definite i)lan of action. 



In 1862 occurred the marriage of E. J. Veness 
and Miss Mary Stearns, who was born in Bloom- 
ington, Illinois, forty-one years ago, a daughter 
of Lloyd Stearns. Mr. and Mrs. Veness have a 
son and daughter. Lloyd E., who succeeded his 
father in business in Rockton, and is now one of 
the representative merchants of the town, was 
born in that place and married Jessie Smith, of 
Kansas, by whom he has one child, Joce C, who 
was born in Rockton. The daughter, Mary Eve- 
lyn, is now the wife of Guy M. Hopkins, of 
Rockton. Mr. Veness is a member of the Baptist 
church. His wife has served as organist for a 
number of years, but is not a member of the 
church. He votes with the republican party and 
has been prominent and influential in affairs of 
his township and county. During his earlv resi- 
dence here he served as school director, was high- 
way commissioner in 1862, has been supervisor of 
the township for nine years and was chair- 
man of the same board for seven years. In 
all of these offices he has been true to the 
general welfare, placing the public good 
before personal aggrandizement. He is in- 
deed one of the leading citizens of his communi- 
ty, having been successful in a business career, 
while in his private life he has won the highest 
esteem of all. His efforts have promoted progress 
along material, social, intellectual and moral lines 
and his life history forms an important factor in 
the annals of Rockton. 


John Andrew's, practically living retired, after 
many years of active connection with agricultural 
interests, makes his home at 1723 School street. 
He is a native of southern Indiana, his birth hav- 
ing occurred in Posey county. April i. 183 1, his 
parents being Anson S. and Elizabeth ( r.utler ) 
Andrews. The father was born in Connecticut 
in 1787 and the mother was a native of Massa- 
chusetts. After leaving the Charter Oak state 
Anson S. Andrews went to New York city and 
later came to the middle west, settling in Indiana, 
where he followed general agricultural pursuits 
until his death, which occurred in 1854. In his 
family were two sons and a daughter, all of 
whom are now living, namely : Seth, a resident 
of ^^'isconsin ; Mrs. Harriet Hinkley, a resident of 
Rockford ; and John, of this review. 

John Andrews spent the first twenty-seven 
years of his life in the county of his nativity and 
acquired his early education in the common 
schools and also studied mathematics and the dead 
languages. He remained on the farm after his 
father's death and he became interested in a flour 
mill and a general store in Indiana, thus having 

varied business aff'airs which claimed his time and 
attention and made him one of the enterprising 
citizens of that locality. In 1858, however, he 
sold his property in that state and removed to 
southern Illinois, becoming interested in a large 
orchard there and carrying on horticultural pur- 
suits for about three years. He first made his 
wa}- to Rockford in September, 1861, and has 
spent the greater part of the time here since. His 
attention has been given largely to agricultural 
pursuits and he yet owns a valuable tract of land 
of one hundred and fifty acres adjoining the city 
limits. He is now practically living retired, doing 
only a little gardening, while the remainder of his 
land is rented. His farm is worth three hundred 
dollars per acre and it is the visible evidence of 
his life of well directed labor and enterprise. He 
lias made the most of his opportunities as the 
}ears have gone by and has ever been found hon- 
est and reliable in his business dealings. 

In 1858 Mr. Andrews was married at Lincoln, 
Illinois, to Miss Mirinda Piper, who was born in 
Charleston. Illinois, in 1840, and is a daughter of 
B. B. Piper, a minister of that denomination for- 
merly known as the Hardshell Baptists. Mr. and 
Mrs. Andrews became the parents of three sons — 
Charles N., wdio died in 1900; Harry B., a prac- 
ticing attorney of Rockford, and Ernest E. J., a 
teacher in one of the high schools of Chicago. 
Our subject and his wife now reside at No. 1723 
School street, where they have a beautiful home. 
They are both interested in religious work, being 
members of the Christian church. Mr. Andrews 
has never given evidence but once upon the wit- 
ness stand, has never served on a petit uiry nor 
sued or been sued by any man. He has lived 
peacefully with his fellowman, true to principles 
of honorable manhood and in his business career 
he has won ver)- desirable success. Having re- 
sided in this county almost continuously for a 
period of forty-four years, he is w-ell known, here 
and is one of the leading and representative citi- 
zens of the community. 


Bruce H. Garrett, practicing at the Rockford 
l3ar, was born on a farm in Guilford township, 
Winnebago county, November i, 1865. His fa- 
ther, Benjamin F. Garrett, was a native of Geauga 
county. Ohio, born in 1835, and in 1838 came to 
Winnebago county with his parents, Thomas and 
Margaret P. Garrett, locating here when this was 
a frontier district and Rockford contained only a 
few houses. In 1864 Benjamin F. Garrett en- 
listed in Company B, One Hundred and Forty- 
sixth Illinois A'olunteer Infantry, and remained in 
the service until the close of the war. In 1861 



he was united in marriage to Miss Esther A. 
Hayes, who was a native of Ilhnois and a daugh- 
ter of William Hayes. She became a resident of 
Winnebago county in 1839. lienjaniin l-". (iar- 
rett died April 3. 1900. 

Bruce H. Garrett began his education in the 
district schools while upon his father's farm and 
later he continued his studies in the public schools 
of Rockford. He began preparation for the bar 
under the direction of Albert D. Early, a promi- 
nent attorney of this city, and in 1887 he was ad- 
mitted to practice, successfully passing an exami- 
nation before the appellate court at Mount \'er- 
non. Mr. Garrett began practice in Rockford im- 
mediately afterward, but was soon appointed a 
clerk in the general delivery department of the 
postoffice and occupied that ])osition for ten years. 
He then resumed the practice of law antl has 
gained a creditable clientage. 

On the 25th of February, 1891, Mr. Garrett 
was married to Miss Anna Donaldson, of Rock- 
ford, a daughter of Mrs. Sarah Jane Donaldson, 
and they now have two children — (irace E. and 
Donald B., aged fourteen and twelve years, re- 
spectively. In politics Mr. Garrett is a repub- 
lican, and he has attained a high degree in Ma- 
sonry, belonging to Ellis lodge, No. 1 16, A. F. 
& A. !M. ; Winnebago chapter, No. 24, R. A. 
M. ; Crusader commandery. No. 17, K. T., and 
Tebala Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He resides 
on National avenue, where in 1904 he erected an 
attractive residence, modern in all of its appoint- 
ments. He is possessed of a considerable prop- 
erty, the supervision of which claims his personal 


Paschal Colvin, the mayor of Pecatonica, who 
has conducted various business enterprises in 
different parts of the country and is now the 
owner of a stone quarry and lime kiln in this 
locality, conducting a profitable business as a 
dealer in both commodities, was lx)rn at Ham- 
burg, Eric county. New York, November 17, 
1832. His father died when the son was very 
young and the latter went to live with .Mvin 
Salisbury in New York, remaining with him until 
eighteen years of age. when he came to Illinois. 
He located first in Stephenson county, his mother 
having removed there after her second marriage. 
In tile middle west he Ix-gan farming and later 
went to Iowa, where he purchased two hundred 
and forty acres of government land in Clayton 
county. On selling that propert\- he purchased 
five hundred and sixty acres in Chickasaw county 
from the government and when he had disposed 
of it became tlie owner of eight hundred and 
thirtv acres in Webster and Humlxjklt counties. 

He also secured this as government claims and in 
each case carried on the work of cultivation and 
improvement to some extent upon the land which 
he ac(iuired. His possessions in Webster and 
Humboldt counties were later sold to good ad- 
vantage, so that he realized a very desirable profit 
on his investment. 

Mr. Colvin was next found in the copper mines 
in Ontonogan county, Michigan, to which place 
he went by way of the lakes, as there were no rail- 
roads at that time. After working in the mines 
for a period he returned by the water route and 
invested his earnings in eighty acres of land in 
Stcjihenson county, Illinois, whereon he erected 
a house, making it his home for four or five years, 
during which time his labors largely transformed 
the ajipearance of the farm, the productive fields 
bringing to him a good financial return. He then 
sold out and established his home in Pecatonica, 
wdiere he purchased a residence. In the mean- 
time he had invented and secured a patent on a 
water tank heater, which he began to manu- 
facture in Pecatonica. He also sold the state and 
county rights and had various representatives 
upon the road selling his manufacture. He also 
traded some of his patent rights for four hun- 
dred and eighty acres of land in Winneljago and 
Worth counties. Iowa, but afterward sold that 
pn)|)erty and removed to Orange City. Florida, 
where he purchased three hundred acres of fruit 
land. Before the memorable hard winter there in 
which most of the fruit was killed he sold all of 
his land except one hundred and sixty acres, 
which he still retains. He traded some of his 
llorida land for a house and eight acres of land 
near Pecatonica and also bought forty-two acres, 
so that he now has fifty acres in this locality. It 
is upon this land that he has a stone quarry and 
lime kiln and he makes large sales annually of 
Ixith lime and stone. In all of his business oper- 
ations he has been successful, being seldom, if 
ever, at fault in matters of business judgment, 
so that his investments bring him an excellent 
financial return. In addition to his farm property 
he owns a number of brick store buildings in 
Pecatonica and a g(Tod home in the town together 
with some vacant lots and two hundred and 
twentv-five acres of rich farming land near the 

Mr. Colvin and his mother lived together in 
her last years and he took excellent care of her 
when her health failed, thus repaying her in part 
for the care which she gave to him in his early 
boyhood days. She lived to be more than ninety- 
nine years of age. There were three .sons and 
one daughter in her family : .Mvin : Richard, who 
died in ciiildhood ; .Vrilla, who married Mr. Kiby 
and after his death became the wife of Garrett 
Llovd but is again a widow and is now living in 



Paschal Colvin, the other member of the family, 
became a Mason on the 20th of April, 1863, and 
has always been lo)-al to the teachings of the 
craft. He belongs to A. W. Rawson lodge. No. 
145, A. F. & A. M., being one of its oldest rep- 
resentatives. In former years his political al- 
legiance was given to the democracy but he be- 
came convinced that the republican platform con- 
tained the best elements of good government and 
is now allied with the latter party. He is ser\-- 
ing his second term as mayor of Pecatonica and 
his re-election as an indication that his adminis- 
tration was marked by qualities that work for 
good citizenship, for public progress and sub- 
stantial improvement. He has the interests of 
the town deep at heart and his labors have been 
effective in promoting business welfare. Mr. 
Colvin has been known in this section of the state 
for many years and as a business man and citizen 
has made a record that well entitles him to rep- 
resentation in this volume. 


Hon. E. W. Brown, whose intense and well 
directed activity has been of material benefit to 
the city of Rockford as well as the source of his 
business success, was born August 8. 1857. and 
throughout his entire life has resided in Rock- 
ford. His efforts have been so practical, his dis- 
cernment so keen, and his labors so effective that 
it would be difficult to find one who has contrib- 
uted in larger or more effective measure toward 
the upbuilding and improvement of this place. 
His patriotic citizenship and his interest in com- 
munity aft'airs has taken tangible form in his 
zealous labors for the improvements instituted 
through aldermanic measures, and through the 
reforms and progressive movements which he has 
fathered during his six years" service as mayor. 

Mr. Brown was born in Rockford. .August .S, 
1857, and was a student in the public schools. 
Later he attended schixtl in ^Nlount Morris. Illi- 
nois, but the strain placed upon his eyes forced 
him to lay aside his text-books. At that time he 
entered upon an active business career, which in 
its scope and result has broadened until few men 
have exerted the influence upon material prog- 
ress in Rockford that Mr. Brown has done. For 
five years he was a member of the Brown & Eck- 
stine Drug Company, the sales of which con- 
stantly increased until they were represented by 
an annual figure of sixty thousand dollars. On 
the expiration of that period I\Ir. Brown sold his 
interest in the drug store and became a whole- 
sale dealer in oil, securing a contract with the 
Standard Oil Company which enabled him to se- 
cure the product at excellent terms and to supply 

many surrounding towns. He built the first oil 
tank in Rockford and secured equipment for con- 
ducting an extensive trade. He began with a 
capital of three thousand dollars and within six 
months his business had reached the sum of 
thirty thousand dollars. He then sold out to 
John P. Porter & Company, for other interests 
claimed his attention. 

Perhaps the work that has contributed most 
largely to the improvement of Rockford was his 
labor in securing the building of the Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad to this point. In 1884 the company 
was making plans for the construction of an air 
line between Chicago and Freeport. Their sur- 
vey had been completed and it was decided to 
leave Rockford out and build the road east of 
New Alilford, crossing the river at Hoisington 
Rocks below this city. Judge Brown, the father, 
realizing the detriment this would be to Rock- 
ford, at once entered upon active measures to se- 
cure the construction of the road through this 
city. He was personally acquainted with E. T. 
Jefferies, general manager of the Illinois Central, 
and v.-ith Stuyvesant Fish, president of the road. 
He sought an interview with the former and in- 
duced him to come to Rockford and look over 
the city before determining upon a final settle- 
ment for the location of the line. Mr. Jefferies, 
accompanied by Isaiah Randolph, chief engineer 
of the road, visited Rockford and was enter- 
tained at the home of Judge Brown. They met 
with a number of prominent manufacturers in- 
cluding Ralph Emerson, W. A. Talcott, John P. 
Manny, H. W. Price and Gilbert Woodruff, and 
that night .Mr. Jefferies decided to build into 
Rockford. He secured the services of Mr. Brown 
to obtain a right of wa\- for the new line and 
active operations in promoting this valuable en- 
terprise were instituted on the ist day of Novem- 
ber. 1884. E. W. Brown was made the first 
agent for the company in this city and still holds 
that position. His thorough business ability is 
recognized by the corporation and his advice is 
frequently sought on important matters, his judg- 
ment being regarded as safe and reliable. Dur- 
ing his connection with the companv the busi- 
ness at this point has grown in an astonishing 
measure until it exceeds that of any other railvvav 
interest in the city in its property investments and 
volume of business. The company now owns a 
frontage of eight hundred feet on South Main 
street, while its yard, extending for three quarters 
of a mile, is free from grade crossings. Its pas- 
senger and freight buildings are the finest in the 
city and in both is handled an immense amount 
of business, the freight output now averaging 
eighty cars per day. Employment is furnished to 
forty people in the various departments of the 
companv's service in this city, and at the head re- 
mains Mr. Brown, who has perfected a system 



of work here tliat has produced excellent results 
and made this one of the important stations on 
the line. 

In political affairs in Rockford Mr. lirown has 
been e(|ually prominent, antl in 1885 was chosen 
alderman from the second ward, which position 
he filled for seven years. Those who had 
watched his public service recotjnized his fitness 
for leadership in affairs of the munici- 
pahty, and in 1895 he was elected mayor. 
Again he was called to the office in 1897 
and for a third term in 1899, and he could 
undoubtedly have won election again had he not 
declined further service. In 1903 representative 
citizens of Rix-kford endeavored to induce him to 
again accept the office but the extent and impor- 
tance of his ])rivate business affairs prevented. 
His administration was business-like and pro- 
gressive. He worked along the practical lines 
that have ever been manifest in the conduct of 
his private interests. Me regards a ])ublic office 
as a public trust — and no trust rept)se(l in him 
has ever been betrayed in the sliglitest ilegree. 
He was the diampion of all progressive meas- 
ures that he believed would benefit the city with- 
out proving an extravagance, and he studied 
closely its needs and jiossibilities, carefully weigh- 
ing every question which came up for considera- 
tion. It was through his efforts and recommen- 
dation that the present system of water supply 
was instituted in 1897 and was put into cft'ective 
operation by D. W. Mead at a cost of fifty thou- 
sand dollars, affording a supply of seven million 
gallons of water daily. The water works park 
was a product of the general improvements insti- 
tuted. The present system of macadamizing was 
instituted and is doubtless the most efficient means 
for doing effective work that could have been 
planned. He appointed to different city positions 
men well qualified by experience or capability for 
duties which would devolve upon them. A re- 
view of his several annual messages to the coun- 
cil demonstrates a determination to adhere to a 
rigid economy in the expenditure of the city 
funds ; a just and exact enforcement of the laws ; 
and together with the co-operation of the coun- 
cil to so administer the city government as to 
insure stable progress and permanent good. 

Mr. Brown was married to Miss Lizzie A. 
White, a daughter of Joshua White, who is well 
known in Rockford as a prominent citizen and 
has extensive realty holdings in Stillman Valley. 
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have three children, and 
the family home is at 312 South Third street. 
Such in brief is the history of one of the best 
known citizens of Rockford. The consensus of 
public opinion regarding his political and busi- 
ness life is most favorable. Tic has ever dis- 
charged his duties with marked ability and fair- 
ness, for he is a most loyal public-spirited citizen. 

As a business man he has been conspicuous 
among his associates not only for his success but 
for his fairness, probity and honorable methods. 
In everything he has been manifestly practical, 
and this has been manifest not only in his busi- 
ness undertakings but also in his ]jrivate and so- 
cial life. 


Hon. John C. Garver. to whom there came a. 
distinguished position in connection with the le- 
gal profession of Rockford and whose champion- 
ship of progressive ])ublic measures constituted 
him one of its most valued citizens, was born 
on a farm near Pecatonica, November 16, 1843. 
He was a son of John Garver, who came from 
Pennsylvania to Illinois at an early day and located 
upon a tract of land that became the old farm 
homestead. The boyhood and youth of Judge 
Garver were passed in the usual manner of farmer 
lads of the period and his elementary education 
was obtained in the public schools. Ambitious 
to enjoy better opportunities he secured per- 
mission to attend Wittenburg college in Spring- 
field, Ohio, where he completed a full course. 
He began preparations for the bar with General 
Keifer, of Springfield. Ohio, as his preceptor and 
following his admission to the bar in 1871 he 
entered upon the practice of his chosen profession 
in Rockford. The favorable judgment which 
the world passed upon his at the outset of his 
career was in no degree set aside or modified 
as the years passed by, but on the contrary was 
strengthened as he gave evidence of high legal 
talent. His preparation of cases was most 
thorough and exhaustive and he seemed almost 
intuitively to grasp the strong points of law and 
fact, while in his briefs and arguments the au- 
thorities are cited as extensively and the facts and 
reasoning therein were presented so cogently and 
unanswerably as to leave no doubt as to the 
correcttiess of his views or his conclusions. He 
rose rapidly in his profession, soon gained the 
confidence of the people and he was accorded 
a clientage of the distinctively representative 

Elected to the office of state's attorney, he 
served in that position for two terms with marked 
ability. Other official preferment was accorded 
him. In 1882 he was a candidate for congress and 
would have been nominated and elected but for 
the sudden death of Major Hawk, which occurred 
shortly before the meeting of the convention and 
occasioned its adjournment without action. At 
the next meeting Robert Hitt and Colonel R. F. 
Sheets lx)th entered the race and Mr. Hitt was 
nominated although Judge Carver's home 




county stood unanimously for him. In 1886 he 
was elected judge of the circuit court to succeed 
Judge James Cartwright, who had been elevated 
to the supreme bench as successor of Judge 
Bailey, deceased, and when he had filled out the 
unexpired term of his predecessor. Judge Garver 
was elected to the office for the full term. He 
frequently served in most capable maimer upon 
the bench in Chicago. The profession of law 
was his real life work and at the bar and on the 
the bench he won distinction. A man of unim- 
peachable character, unusual intellectual endow- 
ments, with a thorough understanding of the law, 
patience, urbanity and industry, Judge Garver 
took to the bench the very highest qualifications 
for this responsible position of the state govern- 
ment and his record as a judge was ever in har- 
mony with his record as a man and lawyer — 
distinguished by unswerving integrity and a 
masterful grasp of every problem which was 
presented for solution. 

In his social relations the Judge was affiliated 
with E. F. W. Ellis lodge of Masons, in which 
he served as master, and he was likewise past 
commander of Crusader commandery, K. T., a 
member of the consistory and shrine, a member 
of the Knights of the Globe, Forest City lodge. 
United Workmen, Odd Fellows society and the 
Woodmen camp. A man of domestic tastes, his 
interest centered in his family and he accounted 
no personal sacrifice on his part too great if it 
would promote the happiness or advance the 
welfare of his wife and children. He was mar- 
ried in Rockford, November 25, 1875, to Miss 
Sarah A. Segur, of this city, a daughter of John 
Segur, who is yet living in Rockford. Of the 
six children born unto Judge and Mrs. Garver, 
five are yet living: Laura J\I., Lewis C, Earl, 
Eva and Howell, and the family occupy an at- 
tractive residence at No. 1103 South Main street. 

It was on the 27th of November, 1901, that 
Judge Garver departed this life, being at that 
time about fifty-eight years of age. Perhaps 
no better indication of his character and his stand- 
ing in the profession could be given than in quot- 
ing from the action of the bar taken concerning 
his death. After a few preliminary remarks the 
report read as follows : "In 1896 he was chosen 
circuit judge and held that office until his death. 
How he won his large clientage and how well 
he filled the high offices the records of our court 
show. They are the most fitting eulogies of his 
work. Under his administration our court pre- 
served that lofty standard of justice for which 
it was ever noted under his illustrious predeces- 
sors. He was a lawyer of high attainments, con- 
scientiously doing his full duty to his clients. 
With an accurate knowledge of law he had the 
forensic skill to present a case to the jury with 
an eloquence rarely surpassed. He was a pa- 

triot, keenly interested in his countr\-'s welfare and 
ever willing to sacrifice self-interest in its behalf- 
He never elevated himself above his fellow citi- 
zens, his heart beating in unison with toiling 
humanity. Judge Garver was trained in early 
piety and was a quiet, sincere Christian. He 
was a genial companion, a true friend, a loving 
husband and father and an honest man. With 
feelings of deep sorrow we mourn his end. We 
deplore the loss of one faithful to every trust. 
We sorrow for him as a member of our bar whose 
life in a large measure exemplified the teach- 
ings of the law. 

"Therefore, in order that this short record of 
his life and our appreciation of his character may 
be known to those who shall come after us : Be 
it resolved that these resolutions be written in 
the records of this court : 

"Resolved further, that we extend to his sor- 
rowing family our heartfelt sympathy in this 
their great loss." 

Robert Rew spoke of Judge Garver as follows : 
"It was in 1870 while attending the East side high 
school that I first became acquainted with Judge 
C. Garver. It was told that Judge Garver and 
some others were to indulge in a debate at the 
old courthouse standing on the site of the present 
structure, and with A. H. Frost I attended. My 
acquaintance with Judge Garver began then. 
My acquaintance with him as a law3-er began in 
1882. He was then one of the gatling guns of 
the Winnebago county bar. 

"Judge C. Garver was born in the land of 
splendid opportunities — a land in which citizens 
born of the humblest origin may become equal 
to any king. A descendant of a pioneer and one 
of the founders of the community, Judge Garver 
belonged to a class of men who represent the 
highest type of manhood. They were educated 
in country schools — the foundation to the great 
commonwealth of to-day, inured to high work and 
form a class of men to be found nowhere except 
in this blessed country of ours. They represent 
the very flower of Christianity and democracy. 
Kindly and genial, capable of meeting the greatest 
problems, in the main righteous, they tread the 
straight and narrow path, never craving favor, 
fearing the hate of none. To this class of men 
Judge Garver belonged. He was an impassioned 
orator. He possessed the skill to select from a 
mass of evidence just the part which would im- 
press and sway court and jury and he would 
present it in a most convincing manner. His 
eloquence in his prime swept all before him. It 
was a dovetailing of all facts in a convincing 
manner, rather than the presentation of the max- 
ims of law. He was classed with the sort of 
lawyers, who. like flowers, are bloom to blush 
unseen. He had the knack of getting business 
and keeping it after he got it. He had the knack 



of remembering faces and names and throughout 
the northern i)arl of tlie state had an extensive 
acquaiiitance among all classes. It was always 
a pleasure to meet Judge darvcr for he was 
always the same genial, kind gentleman. 1 think 
Judge Gar\er died without realizing his ambi- 
tion, for he had hopes of congressional rather 
than judicial honors. P>ut with his dream un- 
realized, as with mo.^t of us. he rests. He dis- 
played an accurate knowledge of the law. I 
think the public does not realize the responsi- 
bility resting with the lawyers of the community, 
upon whom devolves the maintenance of the 
rights of the citizens and they must be the guard- 
ians for the rights of both parties. With such 
a record he need liave no fear. To dust returneth 
no fear of the sable shore. We all must obey 
the warrant of death. Out of darkness wc come, 
into darkness we go." 

Judge Carver left an indelible impression upon 
the legal history of the state and his memory 
remains enshrined in the hearts of those who 
knew him as one who was honored because of his 
talents and his genuine worth. 


William Crill, decea.sed, belongs to one of the 
pioneer families of Winnebago county, being only 
three vears of age when his parents came to 
Illinois'. Throughout the greater part of his life 
he carried on farming here and he was known 
as a reliable and trustworthy business man. He 
was born in Herkimer county, Xcw York, May 
19, 1840, his parents being Henry and Betsy 
(Brooks) Crill. both of whom were born in 1799. 
The father was also a native of Herkimer 
county, where he resided on a farm until his re- 
moval to Illinois in 1843. He settled in New 
Milford township, \\'innebago county, and \yas 
there engaged in farming for a year, after which 
he removed to Monroe township. Ogle county, 
just across the line from Winnebago county. 
There he purchased fifteen hundred acres of land 
from the government, and the deeds, which were 
signed by James K. Polk, then president of the 
I'nited States, are now in possession of Mrs. 
William Crill. He at once began to cultivate and 
improve his land and was actively engaged in 
farm work until 1864. meeting with excellent 
success in his lalx)rs. He then decided to retire 
to private life and divided his property among his 
children. Removing to Rockford he enjoyed a 
well earned rest here for nearly twenty years, 
and in 1882 he returned to the village of Monroe 
in Ogle county, where he and his wife spent 
their remaining days. He died September 19, 
1885, and his wife's death orrnrrcd April 2, 

Of the nine children in that family William 
Crill was tlie youngest. He obtained his educa- 
tion in the district schools of Ogle county and 
spent his youth ujjon his father's farm working 
in the fields and meadows. When his father died 
he took charge of the old home place and for 
nearly forty years resided upon that farm. He 
worked earnestly and persistently and made his 
place a well improved proi)erty. He continued to 
engage in farm work there until his death. Mr. 
Crill was married to Miss Lucy D. Crawford, a 
native of Pennsylvania, in which state her father 
died during her early girlhood and the mother 
passed away in Rochellc. Five children were 
born unto our subject and his wife ; Henry, who 
married Alta Campbell, and is engaged in agri- 
cultural jjursuits in Monroe, Illinois; Grace, the 
wife of Fred Tyler, a farmer of Monroe ; George 
Herman, who married Florence Jeanette Hunter 
and is a retired farmer of the village of Monroe ; 
Harriett Gertrude, the wife of Frank A. Hilde- 
brand. cashier of the Monroe Center State Hank 
of Monroe ; and John Wilson, who resides with 
his mother and is studying law. 

Mr. Crill was elected to many township 
offices and always gave an unfaltering support to 
the republican ])arty. He was a very enter])rising 
man. who prospered in all that he undertook be- 
cause he knew no such word as fail. His life was 
a busy, active and useful one, crowned by success. 
He passed away December 19, 1885. He was 
well known in both Ogle and Winnebago counties 
and had a very large circle of friends. For ten 
years after her husband's death Mrs. Crill re- 
sided upon the old home fann in Ogle county 
now occupied by her son, and in 1894 she came 
to Rockford, where she purchased a nice home 
at No. 133 East street, where she and her young- 
est son reside. She is a consistent member of 
the Centennial Methodist Episcopal church. 


Brittan Jewett. interested in general farming, 
resides in the village of Harrison and is one of 
the extensive landowners of the northern part of 
the county, having nine hundred acres in Har- 
rison and Shirland townships. He is one of the 
native sons of the county, his birth having oc- 
curred in Harrison townshi]) on the 23d of .\u- 
gust. 1854. His father. David Jewett, became an 
early resident of this jiart of the state and the .son 
was reared and educated here, pursuing his edu- 
cation in the district schools in Rockford and 
Durand. When not busy with his text-books he 
worked in the fields and meadows, becoming fa- 
miliar with the best methods of cultivating the 
soil and caring for stock. He thus had a good 




fund of practical experience and knowledge when 
he started out in business on his own account. 

It was in June, 1896, that Mr. Jewett was 
united in marriage to Miss Helen M. Miller, a 
native of Winnebago county, where her father, 
Alexander Miller, settled in pioneer times. He 
was born in Newbury, X'ermont, March 18, 1808, 
and died in Winnebago county on the 22d of Jan- 
uary, 1889. He wedded Miss Mary Mackie, who 
was born at Markwich, Scotland, on the 5th of 
IMarch, 1810, and departed this life on the 30th 
of January, 1901. They were farming people and 
resided in Winnebago county for many years, liv- 
ing a quiet life, yet enjoying the respect and es- 
teem of all who knew them. In their family were 
the following children : Henry W., who died at 
the age of twenty-two months ; William M., who 
died when twenty-eight years of age ; Frank P., 
who passed away in California in 1898; Mrs. 
Mary A. Lloyd, of Roscoe ; J. D., who is living 
in Rockford ; A. B.. of Shirland township ; ^Irs. 
Fidelia Harley, of Rockton ; Mrs. Margaret 
Reckhow, of Rockford ; Roger, who is living in 
Michigan ; William, deceased ; I\Irs. Henrietta 
Robinson, of Beloit : E. S., who resides in Owen 
township; F. P., who died in California; and 
Helen M., the wife of Brittan Jewett. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jewett began their domestic life 
upon a farm and although they now reside in the 
village of Harrison, Mr. Jewett is one of the most 
extensive, capable and successful agriculturists of 
his part of the county, owning and operating nine 
hundred acres of land, lying in Harrison and 
Shirland townships, from which he annually har- 
vests large crops. Fie also has much stock upon 
his place, including horses and cattle, and from 
his purchases and sales he realizes a good finan- 
cial return. In business affairs he is capable, 
prompt, energetic and reliable, carefully watch- 
ing every indication pointing to success, and at 
the same time making a record for reliability that 
any man might well envy. His interest in politi- 
cal questions has led him to give his support to 
the republican party and he has served as com- 
missioner and in other local offices, and socially 
he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of 
America and the Roval Neighbors. 


Professor William L. Eaton, whose family are 
living in Rockford. where they are well known, 
was a native of East Ware, New Hampshire, born 
March 26, 1814. His father, Washington Eaton, 
spent his entire life in the old Granite state. Pro- 
fessor Eaton was educated in the east, completing 
his studies bv a course in Dartmouth College and 

thus equipped by superior educational advantages 
for life's practical duties he entered upon his 
business career. He resided in the east until the 
time of his marriage, in Windsor, Vermont, to 
;\Iiss Anna S. Maine, a native of Hartland, Ver- 
mont, and a daughter of Stephen Maine, who 
followed farming in the Green Mountain state 
throughout his entire life, both he and his wife 
passing away in Hartland. 

In 1843 Professor Eaton brought his bride to 
the west, settling at Schoolcraft, Michigan, but 
after a short time he removed from that place 
to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he became a 
professor in the Kalamazoo College, having 
charge of the Latin classes. There he remained 
until his death. He was regarded as one of the 
most capable educators of the state, for added to 
his comprehensive learning was an abilitv to im- 
part clearly and readily to others the knowledge 
that he had acquired. Of scholarly attainments 
and strong intellectuality, his mind was continu- 
ally reaching out for new thought. While con- 
ducting his classes in college he acted as minis- 
ter of the Baptist church for a part of the time 
but never relinquished his work of teaching in 
the schoolroom. The profession of teaching, 
whether it be from the pulpit, the schoolroom or 
the lecture platfomi, is undoubtedly one of the 
most important callings to wh'ch man can devote 
his energy. He has influence over the minds and 
lives of his pupils at the most impressionable 
period in their entire existence and he qualifies 
them — good or ill according to his ability — for 
the responsibilites which come to them in later 
life. Professor Eaton, with a full realization of 
what devolved upon him in this connection, was 
a conscientious, earnest and progressive teacher. 
He died in Kalamazoo, December 25, 1853, his 
loss being deeply deplored by a large circle of 

Professor and Mrs. Eaton were th.e parents of 
a daughter and son : Adeline became the wife of 
W. H. David, of Chicago, and died in that city 
at the age of forty-seven years. The son, Wil- 
liam L. Eaton, Jr., was born in Kalamazoo, De- 
cember 15, 1850, and married Helen Colman, of 
that place. They have four children : Helen, 
William. Anna and Colman. William L. Eaton 
and his mother remained in Kalamazoo and, fol- 
lowing the completion of his education, he en- 
gaged in newspaper work there for several vears. 
He then came with his familv and his mother to 
Rockford, recognising a good openmg in the 
newspaper field of this city. Here he assisted 
in organizing the company that began the publi- 
cation of the Register Gazette, which is now the 
leading daily newspaper of Rockford. He was 
connected Avith that paper until 1891, when he 
left that field of activity and became manager of 



the Rock River Oil ami Transportation Com- 
pany. He has since been engaseil in this busi- 
ness, in which connection lie controls extensive 
interests, and in addition he has valuable agri- 
cultural interests in the south. He travels much 
of his time but he and his family make their home 
with his mother. Mrs. Eaton, her son and his 
wife are all members of the State Street Baptist 
church of this city and take great interest in its 
work, doing all in their jjower to extend its in- 
fluence and jiromote its growth. They own a 
beautiful home at No. 809 Seminary street and 
the family are prominent here, their circle of 
friends and actiuaintances being extensive. 


Cassius M. Gardner, a farmer living on section 
22, Winnebago township, is numbered among the 
citizens of this count\- that have been furnished 
to Illinois by the Empire state. He was born 
in Oneida county, New York, in 1852, his par- 
ents being James and Margaret J. (Groat) Gard- 
ner, who came to Winnebago county about i868, 
locating on a farm in Rockford township near 
the county seat. The father was a native of Eng- 
land but the mother was born near Schenec- 
tady, New York. James Gardner's birth, how- 
ever, occurred in Cheshire, England, and with his 
parents came to America when only three years 
of age, the family home being established in 
Oneida county. New York, where he was reared 
and educated. He afterward engaged in mer- 
chandizing in the Empire state, but following his 
removal to Winnebago county, he settled upon 
the fann and carried nn the work of the fields for 
manv vears. At the present time, however, he 
is living retired and makes his home about 
twelve miles from Philadeli)hia, Pennsylvania, 
at thfe age of seventy-six or seventy-seven years. 
He is a stanch democrat in politics and in his 
social relations is a Mason. While living in 
Winncbag'^) county he was called upon to mourn 
the loss of his wife, who died on the home farm 
in 1892 when about sixty years of age. In their 
family were five children, all of whom are yet 
living: J. E.. a resident of Rockford, where 
he is employed as a pattern-maker in the factory 
of Savage & Love; J. S., who carries on farm- 
ing in Winnebago township; Mrs. Emma 
Shoudy, whose husband is engaged in the real 
estate business in Chicago; and Phil C, who was 
born in Illinois and is now living in Rockford. 

Cassius M. Gardner, the other member of the 
family, spent the first sixteen years of his life 
in the state of New York and during that time 
was a public school student. He then came with 
his parents to Winnebago county ami remained 

at home till about twenty years of age. The 
greater part of his life has been devoted to agri- 
cultural pursuits and he now has a finely im- 
jiroved farm on section 22, Winnebago township, 
comprising one hundred and sixty acres of land, 
devoted to general agricultural pursuits. He has 
erected commodious and attractive buildings in 
modern style of architecture and the grounds 
abf)ut his home are in splendid condition. The 
building site is an ideal one. his residence stand- 
ing upon the highest point of ground in this part 
of the county, so that an excellent view of the 
surrounding country is afforded. In all of his 
work }ilr. Gardner has been very successful be- 
cause his methods have been practical and his 
industry indefatigable. 

In Winnebago county. December 31. 1874. .\lr. 
( lardnor married .Miss Clara Simpson, who died 
January 2^, 1898, leaving two daughters: Clara 
Ruby, who taught in the public schools previous 
to her marriage to Frank Lander, February 22, 
1902; and Myrtle E. I'oth are residing in Boone 
county at present. ( )n June 19, 1905. for his sec- 
ond wife Mr. Gardner chose Jessie A. Falconer, 
of this county, a daughter of Robert and Anna 
(Ross) Falconer. Her father settled in this part 
of the state at a ver\ early day and died here 
about six years ago. 

Politically Mr. Gardner is a democrat, having 
usually given his support to the men and meas- 
ures of the party, and he has served as school 
director and in other local offices. He belongs to 
the Modern Woodmen camp at Winnebago, and 
his wife is a member of the Congregational 
church. Working ]XTsistently and earnestly, with 
a definite plan of action, he has attained the suc- 
cess which is the goal of all business endeavor. 


Mrs. Margaret L. Fresse, living on section 26, 
Burritt township, is well known in liiis part of 
tlie county. She was born December 25, 1850. in 
I'jigland, and when nuW three years of ri.;:c was 
brought to the L'nited States by her parents. He»- 
father. .Moses Whalen, was born in County Wex- 
ford, Ireland, on the 6th of January. 1812, and 
after spending some time in England he crossed 
the Atlantic to the new world, arriving on the 
20th of Si.ptember, 1854. He did not tarry on 
the coast, but made his wax- at once to the in- 
terior of the country, settling in Rockford. where 
his remaining days were passed. In early man- 
hood he wedded Miss .\nn Crulleton. wl'o was 
born in County Wexford, Ireland, I'ebruary 24, 
1814. an<l after establishing their home in Rock- 
ford tlu-v coiuiinieil residents of the coMuy seat 
until called to their final rest. Mr. Wlialen 



passed away on the 6th of December, 1894, while 
his wife died on the 12th of March, 1892 

!Mrs. Fresse was reared in Rockford, attcndc'l 
its pubhc schools and remained in her parents' 
home nntil at the age of twenty-two vears she 
gave her hand in marriage to Patrick Alurphy. 
They began their domestic life at her present 
place of residence and here she has since lived. 
Air. Alurphy devoted his energies to the improve- 
ment of the farm and was an enterprising, indus- 
trious agriculturist, whose labors wrought a 
transformation in the appearance of the place, 
making it a well developed property. He died 
upon this farm Alay 31, 1890. The children 
born of that marriage were as follows: Mar- 
garet and May, who died in infancy ; Joseph, who 
was born December 13, 1877, and is now living 
in Rockford; Mary, who was born on the iith 
of May, 1879, ''"'i '* 3t home with her mother; 
John, who was born Alay 4, 1882, and is living in 
Rockford ; Thomas and Ella, who were born 
July 23, 1888, and are at home; and Henry, 
the youngest. 

Having lost her first husband in 1892, Mrs. 
Alurphy gave her hand in marriage to Louis 
Fresse, who was born in October, 1863, at Sauk- 
ville, \Msconsin, where the first fourteen years of 
his life were passed. He then came to Winne- 
bago county, Illinois, and since 1892 has lived 
upon the farm where he and his wife now make 
their home. His father. Louis Fresse, was born 
in France and when twenty-three years of age 
emigrated to the L'nited States, spending his re- 
maining days in Wisconsin, his death occurring in 
Saukville when he was fifty-three years of age. 
His wife, w^ho was born in Germany, came to this 
country in her girlhood days and in 1858 gave her 
hand in marriage to Louis Fresse, Sr. Her death 
occurred in Saukville in 1885. 

L'nto Air. and Airs. Fresse of this review have 
been born two sons — George, born April 13, 1893, 
and Charles, born August 5, 1895. The family 
home is an excellent farm on section 26, Burritt 
township, constituting a well developed property 
improved with modern equipments and acces- 
sories. Everything about the place is neat and 
thrifty in appearance, indicating careful and prac- 
tical supervision. Air. and Airs. Fresse and all 
of the family are well known in this locality and 
the circle of their friends is extensive. They are 
members of St. Alarv's Catholic church of Rock- 


C. E. Austin, the present supervisor of Shir- 
land township and a prosperous farmer actively 
engaged in operating three htmdred and thirty- 
five acres of land, was born upon this farm Feb- 

ruary 22i, 1857, his parents being H. S. and Eliza 
(Packard) Austin, who came to Winnebago 
county in 1838. The father was a native of Buck- 
field, Alaine, and was of New England ancestrv, 
the family coming originally from England. His 
wife was also a native of the same locality and 
was of English descent. They arrived in this 
county on the i8th of Alay, 1838, settling first in 
Rockton township. They spent the summer there 
and then removed to the village of Rockton, 
where Air. Austin erected a house, after which he 
followed the shoemaker's trade at that place for 
five or six years. On the expiration of that pe- 
riod he took up a claim of one hundred and sixty 
acres on sections 17 and 18. half of the farm King 
in Rockford and one-half in Shirland township. 
He improved the claim and continued to carry on 
general agricultural pursuits up to the time of 
his death, which occurred in 1892, when he was 
almost eighty years of age. He had for several 
years survived his wife, who died in 1886, when 
about seventy years of age. In their family were 
five sons and two daughters, of whom one is 
deceased — H. S. Austin, Jr., wdio died in Cali- 
fornia, wdiere he w-as then making his home, in 
1879, ^t the age of forty years. Those who still 
survive are: A. AI., a mining engineer residing 
in Los Angeles, California, where he has lived 
since 1861 ; S. A., a practicing physician of Los 
Angeles, California, for the past eighteen years 
but who was formerly of Rockford and was one 
of the founders of the hospital in that city ; Airs. 
Mary E. Evans, who is living in Los Angeles, 
California ; W. W., wdio is engaged in the real 
estate business in Rockford ; and Mrs. L. N. Lef- 
fingwell, whose husband is a farmer of Glidden, 

C. E. Austin, the other member of the family, 
was reared upon the old homestead farm, where 
he has spent his entire life. His education was 
acquired in the district schools and in Beloit, Wis- 
consin, and when not busy with his text-books he 
aided in the labors of the fields. He has added 
to his farm from time to time until he is now tlie 
owner of three hundred and thirty-five acres of 
rich and valuable land in the home place on sec- 
tion 18, Shirland township, and he also has 
eightv acres of land in Rockford township. He 
is actively engaged in the cultivation of his fields 
and has made excellent improvements upon his 
farm, which is now one of the valuable proper- 
ties of the locality. In all that he does he is 
eminently practical and his earnest labor has been 
the resultant factor in his success. 

Air. Austin was married to Aliss Nellie F. Rich- 
ardson, of this county, a daughter of C. B. Rich- 
ardson, of Rockford. Four children grace this 
marriage: Gray R.. nineteen years of age; Aler- 
ton H., fifteen vears of age ; Sewall E., a little 



lad of four summers : and Lillian, who is two 
years old. All are yet with their parents. 

Politically Mr. Austin is an earnest republican, 
having given unfaltering support to the party 
since attaining his majority. His father served 
as supervisor of Shirland township for fifteen 
years during his residence in the county and Mr. 
Austin of this review was elected to tlic same of- 
fice in 1904 and is now capably serving in that 
position. Socially he is connected with the Ma- 
sonic lodge and chapter at Rockford and is a mem- 
ber of the Modern W'l^idmcn cam]) and Royal 
Xeighlxirs lodge at Shirland. while his religious 
views are those of the Congregational church. 
His entire life having been passed in this locality, 
his history is well known to his fellow townsmen, 
and the fact that many of his stanchest friends 
are those who have known him from his youth 
to the present is an indication that his has been 
an honorable career. 


Rockford, as a manufacturing center, offered 
an excellent field for the inventor and among the 
men prominent in the world because they have 
contributed to the utilitarian devices which have 
lessened labor and have also decreased the cost 
of production John Xclson should be mentioned. 
He became widely known in manufacturing cir- 
cles throughout the country as the inventor of 
the Xelson knitting machine, and in Rockford, 
where he was best known, he was regarded as 
a man of strong purpose, superior capability and 
genuine worth. 

He was born in West Gothland, Sweden, 
.April 5. 1830, and when a young lad lost his 
father. The widowed mother was left with little 
of this world's goods, but she was a woman of 
superior intelligence and had a natural insight 
into the workings of machinery, a trait which 
was inherited by her son. When f|uite young 
John Xelson became a spinning-wheel maker. 
He remained a resident of his native land until 
twent\-two years of age. when thinking that 
he might liave better business opportunities in the 
new world, he bade goodbye to his old home and 
sailed from Gottenburg for X^ew York city, 
wlure he arrived after a voyage of six weeks. 
He did not tarry long on the .Atlantic coast, how- 
ever, but at once made his way into the interior, 
locating first at Chicago and Elgin. 

On the 4th of X'^ovember. 1854, he was united 
in marriage to Miss Eva Cliristina Person, 
whose ac(|uaintance he had formed when they 
were passengers t<igetlier on the sliip that sailed 
from Gottenburg. She. too, was a native of 
West Gothland. Sweden, born May 6, 1834, and 

she is a sister of Mrs. Andrew Long, of Rock- 

The year 1852 witnessed the arrival of Mr. 
X'elson in Rockford, and for a time he was in 
business as a designer and pattern and model 
maker. In this labor he was associated with 
Mr. Ghent, and afterward formed a partnership 
with A. C. Johnson and Gust Ilollcni in the 
manufacture of sash and doors. Throughout his 
residence here he was closely identified with in- 
dustrial and manufacturing interests and con- 
tributed in substantial measure toward the busi- 
ness progress and development of the city. Fol- 
lowing the close of the Civil war he wont to the 
south and in company with Gustaf P>urgland, of 
Water Valley, Mississippi, he began business at 
that place. His environment, however, was not 
congenial, and accordingly he returned to Rock- 
ford after a brief period. He was always study- 
ing machinery aiid continually working out new 
plans to accomi)lish the same results. He also 
studied along the line of improvement and for 
many years was revolving in his mind plans for 
the manufacture of a knitting machine. As the 
result of all his years of work and investigation 
and experiment he finally produced the Xelson 
knitting machine, which has entirely revolu- 
tionized the business of knitting machinery. His 
completed product was so perfect that hose are 
now knit for about two cents per dozen pair. 
Just about the time that he had completed his 
great work he was called from this life, passing 
away April 15, 1883. Such was his concentration 
of thought that he found it impossible to sleep at 
night and his constitution, never very strong, 
was thus undermined. He was a natural born 
mechanic and from his early boyhood liis mind 
was filled with ideas that gave promise of the 
rich fulfillment of his mature years. The perfec- 
tion of the machine which he produced is indi- 
cated by a remark that was made by President 
Grant, who came to Rockford on the completion 
of his tour around the world. Here he inspected 
the shops of the Xelson Knitting Company and 
after looking over the machinery and seeing the 
wonderful work, declared enthusiastically that 
after all his tour around the globe, including 
visits to the large cities and factories, he had 
never seen anything to equal this. Tlicn pick- 
ing up a pair of the hose as they dropped from 
the machine he walked away. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. X^elson were born seven 
children, but two have departed this life. .Alfred, 
whose death occurred when he was thirty-three 
vears of age, inherited his father's genius and 
invented some necessary improvements, especially 
the device for widening the leg of a hose as it is 
being knitted. He gave promise of a successful 
career which would prove of value to the world 

, y(>o<^&-j^ 



as well as a source of individual profit. He left 
a widow who is now living in Colorado. Frithiof 
died in childhood. William and Oscar are resi- 
dents of Rockford, and Frithiof, the second of 
the name, is associated with his brothers in many 
of the enterprises with which they are connected. 
John Franklin is also interested in business with 
"his brothers. Anna C, the only daughter, re- 
sides with her mother. Mrs. Nelson, still sur- 
viving her husband, was to him ever a true help- 
mate and a faithful and loving wife. She has 
since his death, with the aid of her children, de- 
veloped a splendid business from the industry 
established by her husband. 

It was not alone the great inventive genius of 
John Nelson, however, that made him a valued 
citizen of Rockford, for he possessed the personal 
traits of character that endeared him to many 
friends. He was a sincere and earnest Christian, 
kind in his treatment of others, considerate at all 
times of those with whom he came in contact, 
and he left to his family an untarnished name. 
What he accomplished in the line of invention 
entitled him to rank with Whitney, Arkwright 
and other great inventors whose fame has become 
world wide. 


Henry J. Miller, successfully conducting busi- 
ness as proprietor of the marble and granite 
works located on North Main street just outside 
the city of Rockford, arrived in Winnebago 
county in 1880 and has since been a factor in in- 
dustrial circles here. He was born in Sweden, 
was a student in its public schools in his early 
youth and when seventeen years of age crossed 
the Atlantic to America, arriving in the new 
world in 1880. He made his way direct to Rock- 
ford and learned the marble-cutter's trade under 
the direction of his father, John H. Moeller, who 
has followed the marble business for many years 
and is still engaged in that enterprise at the age 
of seventy-one years. He was united in marriage 
in early manhood to Miss Edna Eklund. who 
died about three years ago. One sister of Mr. 
Miller. Mrs. Man,' Linwall, resides near Belvi- 
dere, Illinois, while a brother, John E., who came 
to America in 1891, returned to Sweden about 
two years later. 

Following his arrival in the United States 
Henry J. Miller worked for various firms en- 
gaged in marble-cutting, being for fifteen years 
in the employ of Mayor Hutchins, the former 
owner of the plant that is now in possession of 
our subject. IMr. Miller has conducted the busi- 
ness on his own account for about five years and 
has a well equipped marble and granite yardmen 
North Main street, just outside the corporation 

limits of Rockford and directly opposite the west 
side cemetery. He employs two men here and 
also has a traveling salesman on the road, cover- 
ing the territory of northern Illinois and Wiscon- 
sin. Mr. Miller now has a very gratifying pa- 
tronage and enjoys an enviable reputation for 
fair dealing and for satisfaction given to his cus- 

Mr. Miller was married to Miss Emma C. 
Kindberg, who came to Winnebago county in her 
girlhood days and was here reared. Mr. and 
Mrs. Miller are now the parents of four daugh- 
ters and one son, all born in Rockford, namely: 
Mabel v., May Ethel, Effie, Viola, Clifford 
Dwight and Beatrice. The family home is at No. 
1416 North Main street and with the exception 
of two years spent in Kansas and Nebraska, dur- 
ing which time he followed his trade, located 
largely in Concordia, Kansas. Mr. Miller has 
resided continuously in Rockford since 1880. He 
soon gave evidence of excellent workmanship and 
since embarking in business on his own account 
he has built up a very good trade. In politics 
he has always been a republican since the right of 
franchise was conferred upon him. Socially he 
is connected with M. W. A. camp. No. 51. His 
religious views accord with the teachings of the 
Lutheran church. Mr. Miller has never had oc- 
casion to regret his determination to seek a home 
in America, for here he has found good business 
opportunities unhampered by caste or class. His 
faithfulness and reliability in business brings to 
mind the statement of a well known writer and 
lecturer that "Sweden is the home of the honest 


George F. Seaverns, who owns and operates an 
excellent farm in Owen township, was born in 
this locality, July 25, 1861. His father. Isaac 
Seaverns, was a native of Jamaica Plains, now 
a part of Boston, Massachusetts, his natal day 
being June 29, 1814. He was educated in the 
public schools and lived with his parents until 
twenty years of age, when he entered business 
as a partner of Joseph Merriam, opening a mar- 
ket on Milk street in Boston. They conducted the 
Ijusiness until 1836. after which Mr. Seavenis 
removed to Richmond, Ohio, and in 1840 became 
a resident of Cleveland, Ohio. There he con- 
ducted a mercantile enterprise but after six years 
went to ^^'isconsin and located on land about 
eight miles north of Racine, where he carried on 
agricultural pursuits for two years, when he sold 
his property and came to Winnebago county, Illi- 
nois, settling in Rockford township, where he 
purchased seven hundred and fifty acres of land 
which he im]5roved. He resided thereon for ten 



years, after \vliich he sold out. The county poor 
farm is now located upon a part of tliis land. 
Air. Scaverns then purchased oni hundred and 
sixty acres of land in Owen tovv-nship. making 
his home thereon until his death, which occurred 
on the _'4th of October, 1879. He was a demo- 
crat in his political views and favored the Chris- 
tian L'nion church, although in did not hold 
niembershi]) relations with any denomination. He 
was first married to .\bbie liliza Winslow, a na- 
tive of .New York, who died in Cleveland, Ohio, 
leaving one son, Isaac \Y, wIkj was born in 
Cleveland, September 30, 1840, and is now living 
in Chicago. For his second wife Ij^aac Scaverns 
chose .\nna F. Titus, whom he wedded .May 15. 
1842. She was born in 1822, and died in 1903. 
There are four sons and four daughters by this 
marriage, of whom three are now living: Frank, 
who was lx)rn at Rockford. December 13. 1850, 
and is now married and lives in that city; Elea- 
nor, who was born December 26, 1853, is the 
wife of C. S. Taylor, and resides in California; 
and ( ieorge 1". 

In taking up the personal history of George F. 
Seaverns we present to our readers the life rec- 
ord of one widely known in Winnebago county. 
He attended the public schools here and was 
for two years a .student in the Skinner school in 
Chicago. He early became familiar with the best 
methods of carrying on the farm and worked 
upon the old homestead with his father until the 
latter death, after which he rented the property 
from his mother until her death. He then pur- 
chased the interest of the other heirs in the farm, 
which is now carefully and siiccesssfully con- 

On the loth of January, 1887. .Mr. Seaverns 
was married to Miss Esther .\. Kinsley, a daugh- 
ter of Edwin and Jennie .\. ((ilover) Kinsley. 
Her father was born in .Xewark. Xew fersey, 
-May 19. 1838, and his wife's birth occurred in 
.Manchester, England, July 8, 1841. .Mr. Kinslev 
left Xewark at the age of twelve years and with 
his parents went to Janesville, Wisconsin, where 
he worked at the carriage building trade until 
1858. He then removed his business to Rock- 
ton, Winnebago county, Illinois, and for twenty- 
si.\ years was an active factor in the industrial life 
of that place, but in 1884 took up his al)ode in 
I'.eloit, Wisconsin, where he is now conducting 
business, having thrnn,;jhoni hi^ eniin- active life 
carried on the manufacture of v.agons and car- 
riages. He was marrietl in Rockton, in i860, 
and for almost a third of a century he and his 
wife traveled life's journey together but were 
separated bv the death of .Mrs. Kinslev, Seoteni- 
ber 15, 1892. I'nto them were born four chil- 
dren : Mrs. Seaverns. whose hinh occurred in 
Rockton, September 8, i8^')2; Frances E., who 
u.-i^ Ki.rn September 9, 1864, and is the wife of 

C. O. Smith, of Beloit, Wiscorfsin ; Edwin A., of 
Chicago, who was born October 26, 1874, and 
married .Miss Ellen U. \'ivian ; and Grace A., 
who was born February 15, 1882. .Mr. Kinsley 
has always given his political allegiance to the 
deinocracy. The marriage of .Mr. aiul Mrs. Sea- 
verns, which was celebrated at ik-Ioit, Wisconsin, 
lias been blessed with three childn n : Isaac Wv- 
man, who w.ns born in lieloit, December 25, 1889; 
Harold Kinsle}, who was born March 7, 1891. 
?nd died on the 21st of May, following; and 
Jennie Grace, born February 29, 1892. 

.Mr. Seaverns 's .n democrat m his political 
views where naliiMial (|uestions and issues are in- 
volved but at local ol'ctions votC£ independently, 
supporting the candidates whom he thinks best 
qualified for oftice. He Is a charier member of 
Owen camp. No. 616, M. W. A., and also of 
the Knights of Pvthias lodge at Rockford. 


Lemuel Fuller, who follows farming on sec- 
tion 19, Rockford township, owing about five 
hundred and seventy-six acres of land in Winne- 
bago county in addition to which he has about 
two hundred acres lying just across the line in 
Ogle county, has been a resident of this section 
of the state since 1839, coming to the west with 
his parents, John and Lucy (Wilder) Fuller, who 
removed from Genesee county, Xew York. The 
father entered land, purchasing claims each and 
west of the home farm and afterwards securing 
the tract in between. There he successfully and 
energetically carried on general farming until 
his death, which occurred in 1858. when he was 
fifty-eight years of age. His widow long sur- 
vived him and died in December. 1896, at the ad- 
vanced age of eighty-six years. They were the 
l)arents of eight children ; Lemuel ; L. B. ; 
Charles; John; Mrs. Xancy Ingalls. who died 
several years ago ; Eliza, who married David 
Hartwell ; Lucy Ellen, who married T. G. Lev- 
ings and died October 14, 1903: and Mary Ellen, 
who died in infancy. 

I^muel Fuller was born in Genesee county 
Xew York, in 1832 and was therefore a young 
lad when brought by his parents to Illinois in 
1839. His educational privileges were some- 
what limited but he attended a i)rivate school 
held in a farm house. His father afterward em- 
ployed a teacher, a Mr. Felton, at ten dollars 
a month to instruct his children. 

Upon the old family homestead Mr. Fuller was 
reared and has resided here throughout his en- 
tire life with the excejition of the three years 
which he six'iit in the army. He enlisted .\ugust 
9, 1862, at Rockford, in defense of the l'nion 
cause, as a member of Company F, Seventy-fourth 




Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Barker, 
and was mustered in at Camp Fuller. Going to 
the front he served until the close of hostilities 
and was then mustered out with his regiment 
near Nashville, Tennessee. He was never wound- 
ed, altliough he participated in a number of hotly 
contested engagements. He also spent about 
eighteen months in the hospital suffering from an 
attack of smallpox. He was captured at Jones- 
boro and was then sent to Andersonville, where 
he remained for some time, after which he was 
taken to Savannah and later to Florence, South 
Carolina, being exchanged at Oiarleston. He 
participated in the battle of Perryville and of 
Stone River and it was soon after this that be 
became ill and was sent to the field hospital. 

Following the close of the war Lemuel Fuller 
returned to his home, where for many years he 
was actively engaged in fanning but during 
the past few years he has rented all three of his 
farms. His home place is a finely improved 
property, supplied with good buildings and all 
modern equipments, and he ranks with the lead- 
ing, influential and prosperous agriculturists of 
the community. In his political views he has 
always been a republican and he served as school 
director, while fraternally he is connected with 
Nevius post, No. i, G. A. R., at Rockford. 


Captain Lewis F. Lake, who is now serving 
for the fourtli term as circuit clerk and recorder 
of Winnebago counts;. \vas born iri Owen town- 
ship, this count} , in 1846, his parents being Ad- 
am S. and Elizabeth Lake, who became residents 
of this part of the state in 1843. The son ob- 
tained his education in the public schools and 
his boyhood days were passed without event of 
special importance, his time being divided between 
the pleasures of the playground, the duties of the 
schoolroom and the labors of the home farm. He 
watched with interest, however, the progress of 
events in the Civil war, and though but a boy his 
patriotic nature was aroused by the thrilling inci- 
dents which occurred as the great contending 
armies met and battled, the one for the Lhiion and 
the other for the privilege of secession. Accord- 
ingly when still in his teens he offered his serv- 
ices to the government and donned the blue uni- 
form. Going to the south he was in active service 
up to the time of the siege of Atlanta, when he 
was captured in July, 1864. He was then sent 
to Andersonville prison, where he remained until 
released by a special exchange of prisoners in 
the following September. During a portion of 
his service he was with Taylor's Battery of the 
First Illinois Light Artillery and participated in 
a number of the important engagements of the 

war. He never faltered in the performance of 
any soldierly duty. He took his place on the 
lonely picket line or on the firing line, went on 
long, hard marches and met the rigors of war 
uncomplainingly. His interest in military aft'airs 
was further evidenced by his fifteen years" of serv- 
ice in the Illinois National Guard, during eight 
years of which time he was a member of the fa- 
mous Rockford Rifles, and for seven years he 
was regmiental adjutant with the rank of captain. 
He has never ceased to feel the deepest interest 
in military organizations of state and nation, and 
is justly proud of the accomplishments of our 
standing and volunteer armies. 

Following the close of the Civil war Captain 
Lake returned to his home in Winnebago county 
and began working at the carpenter's trade. 
Soon, however, he accepted a position in the shops 
of the Emerson Manufacturing Company, where 
he was employed for thirteen years. Since that 
time he has largely been occupied v»'ith public du- 
ties, his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth 
and ability, having frequently called him to office. 
In 1881 he was a candidate for the position of 
collector and received a good majority, and on 
the expiration of his term of service in that of- 
fice he was made deputy county clerk, in which 
capacity he served for six years. His experience 
and his familiarity with all the duties of the posi- 
tion well qualified him for the further official 
honors which were accorded him by his election 
to the office of circuit clerk. For the fifth term 
he is the incumbent in that capacity, and no 
higher testimonial of his efficiency, fidelity and 
promptness could be given than the fact that he 
has been four times re-elected. 

Captain Lake was married to Miss Martha A. 
Allen, on the 20th of June, 1866, and they have 
had three children, but only one, a daughter, 
Gertrude, is now living. The family home is at 
No. 229 North Church street. Socially Captain 
Lake is connected with the Grand Army of the 
Republic, with the Masons, the Royal League, 
the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the 
Knights of P\1:hias, together with other benefi- 
ciary organizations. In political thought and ac- 
tion he has always been a republican, carrying 
out his honest convictions without fear or favor, 
and as a public servant he has been true to the 
trust reposed in him, while in private life he has 
gained that warm personal regard which arises 
from true nobility of character, deference for the 
opinion of others, kindness and geniality. 


No citizen of Winnebago county was ever more 
respected and no man ever more fully enjoyed 
the confidence of the people or more richly de- 



served the estconi in which he was liekl tliaii did 
Judge WilHani Brown. In his life time the peo- 
ple of his state, recognizing liis merit, rejoiced 
in his advancement and in the honors to wliicli 
he attained, and since his death they have cher- 
ished his memory. Honorable in business, loyal 
in citizenship, charitable in thought, kindly in 
action, true to every trust confided to his care, 
his life was of the highest type of .\merican 
manhood. lie was for many years in active 
practice at the Winnebago county bar, and com- 
paratively few men endear themselves to so great 
an extent to their professional associates and to 
those with whom they come in contact m the <lis- 
charge of public duties. 

His life record began in Cumberlanil county. 
Englantl. where occurred his birth on the i6th of 
June, 1819. He possessed a very retentive mem- 
ory and recalled vividly all of the circumstances 
of his trip across the ocean to the new woriil 
when he was eight years of age. He had. too. 
a strong mental picture of his native town and 
the sclioolhouse in which he began his (diication. 
and he frequently told of his surprise at first 
seeing the negro, meeting that colored individual 
in 1-iverpool when on his way to .\meric3. It was 
in 1827 that he was brought to the United States, 
and his boylnHxl days were passed on a farm in 
Oneida county. New York. His educatii)nal ])riv- 
ileges were somewhat liiuited because it was 
necessary that he should assist in the labors of tlie 
fields from the time of early spring planting un- 
til crops were harvested in the late autumn : but 
during the winter months he a])plied himself dili- 
gently to the mastery of such branches of learn- 
ing as were taught in the public schools. He 
entered college but w'as obliged to leave before 
completing the course. His ambition was in the 
direction of a professional career, and determin- 
ing upon the ()ractice <if law as a life work, by 
indomitable energy and close application he ])re- 
pared himself for practice, and was admitted to 
the bar in New York .state. 

.-\ttracted by the opportunities of the great and 
growing west he started for Illinois in 1846. His 
cash capital was ver}' limited but he possessed 
strong and determined purpose. He arrived in 
Rockford on the loth of November, finding a 
little town of less than one thousand inhabitants. 
and where now are some of Rockford's busy 
streets there were forests and thickets. He cast 
in his lot with the early settlers, being at that 
time a young man of twenty-seven years and hav- 
ing a capital of forty-eight dollars and fifty cents. 
His entrance into business life in the west was 
as a teacher of a country school about ten miles 
from Rockford. but he .soon l)ecanie ill and was 
unable to pursue his labors for several months. 
He recovered to face debts and discouragement 
brought on by his long contiiuied illness. Friends 

advised him to go to Wisconsin, and he visited 
Beloit, after which he returned to Rockford. At 
the time that he was endeavoring to decide 
whether to maintain his residence in this place or 
seek a home elsewhere he was elected justice of 
the peace, and though the office did not pay 
him a very liberal salary it proved the turning 
point and he decided to remain in \\'innebago 

In 1850 Judge I'.rown was united in marriage 
to -Miss Caroline H. .Miller, and ev.-^r afterward 
he said. "This was the wisest move I ever inade." 
They began their domestic life in a little cottage 
on the present site of the Carpenter home of 
Rockford. and Judge Brow'ii continued a member 
of the bar. doing his best to secure clientage and 
to so conduct his cases as to win the confidence 
of the public. After six years' service as justice 
of the peace he was elected state attorney in 1852. 
.Vlready he W'as demonstrating his ability to 
handle involved litigated interests, and he ren- 
dered capal)le service in the second position to 
which he was elected, a fact which also ditl nuich 
to win him i)ub!ic confidence and support. He 
was also called to other public offices, being one 
of the township trustees prior to the incorpora- 
tion of the city, and in 1857 he was honored by 
election to the ma\'oralty. in which office he gave 
to the young cit\' a business-like and ])rogressive 
administration, carefully guarding its financial 
interests and at the same tiem using his influence 
and official prerogatives for the upbuilding and 
l)romotion of its welfare. In 1864 he was elected 
to the state legislature, and for a term of two 
years was active in framing the laws of the com- 
monwealth. For six years he served by a])i)oint- 
ment as master in chancery, and in 1870 he was 
elected to the circuit bench, serving for twenty 
years with conspicuous ability in that position. 
He had great respect for the dignity of judicial 
])lace and ])ower, and no man ever presided in a 
court with more re.spect for his environments than 
<lid Judge Brown. As the result of this personal 
characteristic the proceedings were always orderly 
upon the part of every one — audience, bar, and 
the olTicers from the highest to the lowest. The 
court records are the best proof ot his capability. 
His opinions are fine specimens of judicial 
thought, always clear, logical and as brief as the 
character of the case will permit. His life dur- 
ing the entire period of his course at the bar and 
on the Ijench was directed in the line of his pro- 
fession and his duty. He was excejitionally free 
from all judicial bias, his varied legal learning 
and wide experience in the courts, the patient 
care with which he ascertained all the facts bear- 
ing upon every case which came before him, ga\e 
his decisions a solidity and an exhaustiveness 
from which no member of the bar could take 


20 1 

The home Hfe of Judge Brown was largely 
ideal. Unto him and his wife, who still sur- 
vives him, were born two sons, Edward ^^'. and 
Frank R. Brown, of the Nelson Knitting Com- 
pany ; and a daughter, }ilay. now the wife of 
H. W. Buckbee. His interests centered in his 
family and he counted no personal sacrifice on 
his part too great if it would promote the welfare 
or happiness of his wife and children. No better 
indication of his love for his family and the de- 
sire for the best development of his sons and 
daughters- can be given than to print a letter 
which he wrote to them after his elevation to the 
bench, which read as follows : 

Galena. 111.. June 8. 1873. 
To Eddie, Frankie and Alay ; 

Aly Dear Children : 

Your pa was unanimously elected judge of the 
First Judicial Circuit of the State of Illinois last 
JMonday, for the term of six years. 

If we live to the close of my term in office, 
Eddie will be twenty-two, Frankie nineteen and 
little May fourteen years of age. The boys will 
be young men and Alay will be almost a young 
lady. As to you, boys, there is no more impor- 
tant period in your lives than the next six \ears. 
Your characters ought then to be formed for good 
or for evil. It will be developed by that time, 
whether you will make noble, useful men in the 
world, or whether you will be worthless loafers, 
respected by none and despised by all. It will 
be a terrible affliction to your pa and ma to raise 
up a worthless boy. What will be of more value 
to you than anything else is a fixedness of pur- 
pose, a determination and a will to do right — 
let others do as they may. You want a fixed prin- 
ciple so that you can not under any circumstances 
be influenced to do wrong. \\'hen }0u go out 
(as you will soon have to go) from home and 
home influences, you want your habits so firmly 
established that you will not drink, that you will 
not use tobacco, that you will not use profane 
or vulgar language, and that you will not asso- 
ciate with the wicked or the vile. 

Boys, you have ability enough to make tal- 
ented men, and a noble future awaits you. if you 
only dare to do right. 

Another thing that I want to particularly im- 
press upon you is this : always be kind, respect- 
ful and obedient to your dear mother. I never 
knew a boy to make a good man who was un- 
kind lo his mother. Your mother will mostly 
have charge of you for the next six j'ears. If 
you will under all circumstances obey her, and 
kindly do her bidding, I will have no fears of 
your future : but if on the other hand you dis- 
obey her and treat her unkindly, you will become 
worthless, cruel and wicked. In the Bible chil- 

dren are commanded to obey their parents, for 
this is right. 

I trust that little May will always be a bright, 
twinkling little star, shedding her light upon a 
sin-cursed and darkened world. May you all 
grow up to be a blessing in the world,' and a 
comfort and joy to your parents. 

From Your Loving Pa. 

Only those who knew Judge Brown best ap- 
preciated to the full extent his ability, his char- 
acter and the depths of his kindly nature. The 
local press at the time of his demise, which oc- 
curred January 15, 1891, said: 

Judge Brown was a high type of American 
manhood. He was earnest, honest and self-reli- 
ant. From a poor boy he made his way up to a 
position which any man might envy, and' in doing 
so pushed no other man down, nor was there 
ever a suspicion of trickery or dishonesty in any 
way attached to him. None ever knew him but to 
respect him. He possessed strong opinions 
which he held tenaciously but never obtruded 
them upon others. He acquired a considerable 
by strict business principles and shrewd specula- 
tions. It was ever a pleasure to meet him. He 
possessed a large fund of information which he 
could impart with rare ability, and was a whole- 
souled, genial and companionable gentleman. 

As a jurist. Judge Brown bore the highest rep- 
utation. For twenty 3-ears he sat on the circuit 
bench, and rarely did he have a decision re- 
versed in the higher courts. He was deeply 
learned in legal lore, and was so eminentl_v fair 
that all litigants and attorneys were glad to have 
him try their cases. Strong temperance man as 
he was, the saloonists themselves were glad to 
have him on the bench at their trials. His repu- 
tation as a jurist was not local, but extended far 
and wide, and it would be well inscribed on his 
tomb, "He was a righteous judge." He was 
deeply interested in his duties on the bench, and 
sought only to raise the standard of American 
jurisprudence, make decisions which would stand 
the test of time, and leave an honorable reputa- 
tion — all of which he accomplished. He knew 
no way to administer the law but on the great 
principles of the science, and with painstaking 
conscientiousness worked out the problems pre- 
sented by each suit tried before him. His re- 
ward was in the consciousness of duty well per- 
formed, and the universal honor and respect of 
the legal profession. 

As a citizen. Judge Brown was a noble type. 
He fully appreciated the responsibilities of .Amer- 
ican citizenship, and earnestly sought to meet 
them. Never a politician, and far removed in 
nature and vocation from affinity with the noisy 
strife of partisanship, he fairly faced every issue 



of the day, decided which course was the better 
for his country and tlie people in his estimation, 
and then by voice and vote forwarded the cause 
which his clear head had caused him to espouse. 
He was an earnest republican, a republican from 
deeply rooted principle and no minor mistake 
which the party could make, no abuse of the party 
by individuals, could swerve him from his princi- 
ples. Right was right with him, and his atten- 
tion could not be distracted by minor issues. He 
did loyal work for the party in a quiet way, and 
his time, his energy and his purse was always at 
its command. He was a strong temperance man 
and worked with a will for the cause. The old 
residents will remember with how firm a hand he 
enforced the liquor laws during his term as 
mayor. Careful as he was as judge, not to allow 
his personal opinion to interfere with his inter- 
pretation of the law, as an executive officer he 
was as firm as adamant and enforced the temper- 
ance laws with a hand of iron. Once convinced 
of his duty naught could swerve him. The liquor 
men girdled his fruit and ornamental trees, and 
otherwise injured the grounds, out of anger at 
his firmness, but he never wavered. They threat- 
ened him, but he knew not fear, and went about 
his business as openly as ever and entirely un- 
attended. Nearly all his life long occupying pub- 
lic positions, no man ever charged that he did 
not in every case do his duty, and no man ever 
suggested a word against his absolute honesty. 
He was a good citizen. If all were such as he 
government would be a simple matter, and the 
community would be an Elysium indeed. 

The judge was an honest and consistent Qiris- 
tian and has ever been devoted to the church. 
He has been closely identified with the Centennial 
Methodist Episcopal church for many years, and 
was one of the principal luovers in erecting the 
new church. He held all the affairs of Metho- 
dism close to his heart, and was interested in the 
church at large as well as local organizations. 
There was no Christian movement but appealed 
to his heart and interest. He was alwavs to be 
found in the front rank of workers for the r.iuse 
of Christ and of right. He filled various lay 
offices in the Methodist church and will be greatly 
missed by his fellow workers in the field. He 
possessed to an eminent degree the Christian vir- 
tues of forgiveness and benevolence, and did what 
he could to lighten the loads of others. 

In his family Judge I'rown was a king, en- 
throned in the love and honor of his children. 
He was a great home man and loved the joys of 
his fireside. Nothing was too good for his fam- 
ily that he could get. Their happiness was the 
apple of his eye and the life inside of the charmed 
home circle was most beautiful. He was the idol 
of his wife and children. The latter have ever 

regarded his opinion as be\ond debate or doubt, 
anfl what he said the\- were willing to stake their 
lives on. It has been a beautiful example of faith 
to all who knew them. The sons, grown men of 
strong opinions themselves, and ready to combat 
their opinions in the world, have ever bowed be- 
fore his wider experience and riper judgment. 
During the past year since failing health com- 
pelled him to give up the active duties of life, 
he has especially enjoyed his home and the sunny 
smiles of his grantldaughters growing up about 
him. During the last hours when naught else 
could arouse him from the lethargy into which 
he was sinking, the presence of the little girls in 
his room would summon the scattered faculties 
like a gleam of sunshine and he would notice 
them pleasantly. It is in this circle where the 
loss falls most heavily. The state loses a good 
citizen, the people a good neighbor, the church a 
good member, humanity a good man, and a thou- 
sand hearts bow in sadness at his death ; but one 
circle about the deserted fireside lose something 
more tangible. They lose a guide ever ready 
with advice and encouragement ; a father and 
husband whom they loved with passionate tender- 


Thomas Lake, deceased, was a representative 
farmer of Winnebago county, born on the 4th 
of July, 1806, at Blackford, in the parish of 
Selworth. Somersetshire. England, his parents 
being William and Elizabeth Lake. The father 
was a farmer by occupation and carried on a 
milling business in connection with the tilling 
of the soil. The Lake homestead belonged to the 
estate of Sir. T. D. Ackland. 

Thomas Lake, reared to the occupation of 
farming, followed that pursuit during the great- 
er part of the time until his father's death. Soon 
afterwards he sailed for America. He had pre- 
viously married Miss Lavinia Atkins, a daughter 
of John Atkins, a farmer residing at \\'hilcomb 
in the parish of Minehead. It was in May, 1832, 
that ^Ir. Lake sailed from Bristol on board the 
bark Charlotte, bound for New York. The 
voyage was a long and tedious one as compared 
with the rapid transportation of the present 
times, but at length anchor was dropped in the 
American port. A few days later Mr. Lake pro- 
ceeded to Troy, New York, where he was em- 
ployed for a short time, but owing to a cholera 
epidemic he deemed it wise to proceed on his 
westward way. They stopped for a short time in 
Ohio and there Mr. Lake worked at the carpen- 
ter's trade, which he had learned in his native 
land. Subsequently he started with his family 




for Chicago, where he arrived 011 the ist of 
October, 1835. It was not until about two years 
later that the city was incorporated. There he 
was employed by a ]\Ir. Steel, who was later 
elected sheriff of Cook county. In March, 1836, 
accompanied by Air. Tw'ogood and his family. Mr. 
Lake and his family completed the trip to Rock- 
ford. At that time the land office had not been 
opened, the entire county being in a primitive con- 
dition. Tlie Lake family remained at the home 
of Daniel S. Haight until a log house could be 
erected by Mr. Lake on his claim near Rock- 
ford. He secured a considerable tract of land 
in Guilford township and there he began the de- 
velopment of his farm, aiding in large measure in 
the substantial improvement of the county at an 
early day. He was one of the worthy pioneer 
settlers and assisted in laying broad and deep the 
foundation upon which has been reared the super- 
structure of the present prosperity and progress 
of Winnebago county. 

Before leaving England one son, Robert W., 
had been born unto Air. and Mrs. Lake. Their 
daughter, Mrs. E. J. Lake, now owns a fine farm 
on section 2, Guilford township, and from 
pioneer days down to the present the family has 
jjeen prominent in this county, its members be- 
ing respected and worthy citizens. 


Irvin S. Sumner, filling the position of post- 
master at Pecatonica, is one of the leading citizens 
of his part of the county, his labors proving ef- 
fective in advancing the welfare of the town, 
while his efforts in his business interests have 
brought him a gratifying^ measure of success. Pie 
was born in Pecatonica, November 8, 1844, his 
parents being \\'illiam and Cynthia ( Farrell ) 
.Sumner, both of whom were natives of tlie Em- 
pire state. The father came to Winnebago 
county in 1835, casting in his lot with the pioneer 
settlers of Pecatonica township, where he en- 
tered land from the government. He was one 
of the first to locate on the banks of the Pecaton- 
ica river and throughout his entire business life 
he carried on general farming and stock-raising. 
In 1858 he made a business trip to low'a and 
there dropped dead from heart failure. His wife 
had departed this life in 1856. They were the 
parents of two sons and a daughter : Irvin S. ; 
Louise, w'ho married William Marsh and is now 
living in California ; and Eugene, whose death 
was occasioned by a tree falling on him when he 
was twenty-one years of age. After losing his 
first wife William Sumner married Miss Ellen 
Leonard, and they had one child, Flora, who is 

now the wife of William Giltrap, of Anamosa, 

Irvin S. Sumner pursued his education in the 
public schools and remained at home until the age 
of fourteen years, when he went to Kansas, where 
he spent two years working as a farm hand. He 
then returned home and in 1861 worked upon 
the farm, attending school through the winter 
months. In the year 1862, however, he offered 
his services to the government, being then but 
seventeen years of age. He enlisted in Company 
B, Seventy-fourth Illinois \^olunteer Infantryi" 
and on the 4th of September was mustered in at 
Rockford. He served for more than two years, 
and was then honorably discharged on acct>ujj)f/q'f 
disability at Chicago, January 6, 1865. He went 
from Rockford with his regiment to Louisville, 
Kentucky, and on to Perryville, where he was 
first under fire, participating in the battle at that 
place. Subsecjuently he went to Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, where the first winter was spent, and be- 
ing on the sick list he was in the hospital most 
of the time. Later he rejoined his regiment at 
Alurfreesboro, Tennessee, and with his company 
moved on to Winchester and to Chattanooga. He 
[larticipated in the battle of Missionary Ridge, 
thence went to Knoxville, where tlie winter of 
1863 vvas passed, after which his command fol- 
lowed General Bragg through to Kenesaw Moun- 
tain, and in the notable engagement which oc- 
curred at that place Mr. Sumner was wounded 
on the 27th of June, 1863. He w^as struck by a 
ball which entered the right side above the hip 
and came out just below the breast-bone, passing 
through the large lobe of the liver. Mr. Sum- 
ner is the only man in this state with the excep- 
tion of ex-Governor Joseph Fifer that ever sus- 
tained such a wound and lived. He was wounded 
in the morning and lay on the field until the fol- 
lowing day, when he was found in the grass, 
which was covered w-ith blood. He was discov- 
ered by his company commander. Captain 
Thompson. The doctors had done nothing for 
him, as they thought he could not live, but the 
captain ordered them to dress his wound, which 
they did, and later he was removed to Big Shanty, 
about six miles from the battle-field. Care had 
been given him so late that the microbes had done 
their w-ork before the wound was dressed. He 
was sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the 2d of 
July, remaining in the hospital there for some 
time, and afterward was in the hospitals of Nash- 
ville and of Louisville, Kentucky, being trans- 
ferred from the last named to Jeffersonville. In- 
diana. Because of the delay in attending his in- 
juries gangrene set in and in burning out the 
poison the surgeon also burned off an artery and 
he came very nearly losing his life from bleeding 
to death. After being transferred tqsChicago he 



was in tlic .Marine Hosijital under Dr. Islinni un- 
til cliscliargc(.l from tlic service, and after his re- 
turn home was under the care of Drs. Rutler and 
Newell, but niorc than a year passed before he 
could stand erect, and he has always suffered 
from his wound, having never recovered his gen- 
eral he.ilth. l-'or months at a time he has been 
undrr the care of an attendant, and in fact 
never enjoyed a well ilay since the fatal battle 
of Kenesaw Mountain. He made a great sacri- 
fice for his country and belongs to that class of 
brave and noble men to whom the country owes 
a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. 

As soon as possible after somewhat regaining 
his health .\Ir. Sumner resumed business in con- 
nection with fanning interests in this state. In 
1880 he rented a farm belonging to his uncle and 
thus superintended between twelve and fourteen 
hundred acres of land, continuing in the conduct 
and operation of that place until about four 
years ago. He now owns a valuable farm of one 
hundred and thirty-five acres, wdiich he purchased 
a number of years ago, and which he rents, wdiile 
he is living in a good home in Pecatonica and 
filling the position of postmaster here. He has 
done much to advance business interests in the 
village, promoting public ])rogrcss along com- 
mercial and industrial lines. He was one of the 
first men to aid in starting the creamerj- and was 
also one of the founders of the Milk Condensing 
Company. He himself became a stockholder and 
induced others to invest, and these enterprises 
have proved of much value in business circles 

Mr. Sumner has been married three times. He 
wedded Miss Sarah Green, a daughter of El- 
bridge and Mary (Brewer) Green, and they be- 
came the parents of two sons, William and 
fieorge. The former married Florence Christ- 
man and they reside in Pecatonica. George, also 
of Pecatonica, wedded Miss Betsey Doty and has 
two sons, Harold and Eugene. For his second 
wife Mr. Sumner chose Ellen Kerr, a daughter 
of Peter and Margaret (Winchester) Kerr, and 
they have two daughters, .Mice A. and .Vnna L., 
who are attending to the duties of the postoffice. 
For his third wife he chose Minnie Hamlin, 
a daughter of Jeremiah and Mary (Madden) 
Hamlin. Her father was boni at Bleeding Hill, 
Massachusetts, a brother of Vice President Ham- 
lin, and the mother was born at Rochester, New 
York. She died in 1866. while .Mr. Hamlin 
passed away in 1875. both dying in Rockford. 
They had come to the west about 1853, settling 
in the county seat, where Mr. Hamlin lived re- 
tired. He was a memlKr of the Masonic frater- 
nity. Unto him and his wife were bom two 
daughters. Mrs. Sumner and Hattic. the deceased 
wife of T. S. Tuthill. a lumber merchant of Siou.'c 

Falls, South Dakota. She died in .Minneapolis, 
Minnesota, in 1902, leaving one child. 

Mr. Sumner is an earnest advocate of repub- 
lican principles, his first vote being cast for Abra- 
ham Lincoln on the 8th of November, 1865. He 
was challenged by Charles Stephens, a democrat, 
but Mr. Sumner swore in his vote, just the same, 
for it was his twenty-first birthday and he was, 
therefore, entitled to exercise his right of fran- 
chise and supported the republican candidate, 
who in the light of history is regarded as one of 
the greatest men the nation has ever produced. 
He was commissioner of highways for twelve 
years and was school commissioner for three 
years, but has never cared to hold office in Peca- 
tonica save that which he is now filling — the po- 
sition of postmaster. He is a member of Ellis 
post. No. 20, G. A. R., and thus maintains pleas- 
ant relations with his old army comrades. In 
days'of peace and days of war he has been cquallx 
loyal to his country, and stands to-day as one of 
the representative citizens of \\'inncbago county, 
honored and respected by all who know him. 


Thomas Winchester, a general contractor, de- 
voting his attention mainly to cut stone work, 
is a native of Northumberland county, England. 
He was born in the year 1846 and remained in 
his native country until ten years of age. In 
1837 he crossed the .\tlantic to .America and be- 
came a resident of Pecatonica. Winnebago 
county. Illinois. His parents resided at that 
place until called to their final rest and the 
father. \\^'lliam \\'inchester, was also engaged in 
the stone-cutting trade. 

Thomas ^^'inchester of this review was a 
young man of twenty years when, in i8fi6. he 
left home and took up his abode in Rockford. 
where he has since resided. In early life he 
learned the stone-cutter's trade and after work- 
ing a,s a journeyman for a number of years, dur- 
ing which time he gained a thorough and accu- 
rate knowledge of the business, he embarked in 
business for himself and for the past sixteen 
years has been well known as a contractor of 
this city. He has a yard located at the Kenosha 
division depot and employs on an average 
throughout the year from fifteen to twenty men, 
while oftentimes he has in his service as many 
as fifty men. all skilled mechanics. He has 
erected under contract numerous fine buildings 
in the city and in fact has worked for most of 
the leading stone contractors of Rockford. He 
is now engaged in the erection of tlie 
Prcbvterian church at Main and \\"orth streets, 
associated with John P. CuUcn. He has now fol- 




lowed the stone-cutting business for forty years 
and as time has advanced his patronage has 
gained until he is now a leading representative 
of this line of activity in his adopted citv. 

Mr. \\'inchester was married in Pecatonica to 
Miss Esther J. Corwin, of that place, a daughter 
of 'Squire Corwin. who was an early resident 
of the city and is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. 
Winchester have five children, all of whom were 
born in Rockford : Edith, now the wife of W. 
F. Pitney, who is engaged in the grocery busi- 
ness in Rockford : Thomas R., a stone-cutter, 
who is married and makes his home in this citv : 
Nellie, the wife of J. H. Tole, who is chief mone\- 
order clerk in the postoffice, and has two chil- 
dren, Arthur T. and Dorothy ; and Mabel and 
Maud, both at home. The family residence is 
at No. 720 Fifth avenue. 

In his political allegiance ]\Ir. ^^'incllester is a 
democrat. In his social relations he is an Odd 
Fellow, belonging to both the lodge and encamp- 
ment of Rockford, and he has filled all of the 
chairs in the order. He likewise holds member- 
ship relations with the Tribe of Ben Flur. Strong 
purpose and unfaltering industry constituted 
the success of his rise in the business world and 
from a humble position as an apprentice Mr. 
Winchester has worked his way upward tmtil as 
a contractor he is prominent, controlling im- 
portant business enterprises. 


Israel Sovereign, now in the seventy-eighth 
year of his age and living retired at No. 313 
North Church street, in Rockford, was born in 
Canada, November 6, 1827. His parents, John 
and Miriam (Mabee) Sovereign, were resi- 
dents of Canada. The father was born in New 
Jersey and went to the Dominion with his parents 
when but four years of age, so that he was reared 
in that country. He took up land in the province 
of Ontario and followed farming in the township 
of Malihide until the fall of 1840, when he re- 
moved to W'innebago county, making the journey 
overland to Rockford by way of Chicago, and at 
that time the latter city contained but three houses 
on the west side of the river. While living in 
Canada he had been called upon to mourn the 
loss of his wife, who died in 1839, when thirty- 
nine years of age. She left ten children, nearly 
all of whom reached mature 3'ears, and one is a 
resident of California, one of Missouri and two 
of Illinois. With his family Mr. Sovereign start- 
ed for this state, making the journey \i.-ith teams 
and wagons and reaching his destination on the 
loth of November. Being left with a large fam- 
ily, he married again, Mrs. Mary Mason, a na- 

tive of Illinois, becoming his wife. Their mar- 
riage occurred in Boone county, and T\Irs. Sov- 
ereign also had a number of children by her first 
marriage. Arriving at his destination, Mr. Sov- 
ereign purcliased a house on Tliird street, in East 
Rockford, south of the park, and there made his 
home for a time, after which he bought a farm on 
section 31, Guilford township, this property be- 
ing now partly owned by Reuben Sovereign. The 
tather became the owner of a half section on 
Fourteenth avenue road and also the northeast 
quarter of section 31, which is now the pr.operty 
of Reuben Sovereign, and the northwest quarter 
of section 32, which has since passed out of pos- 
session of the family. Israel Sovereign owned 
the west half of the northwest quarter of section 
32, which he afterward traded for a store in 
Rockfortl. while the remaining eighty acres was 
owned b}- Ruth Sovereign, who married Reuben 
Havenson, and is now deceased. John Sovereign 
operated his large farm for a time, but afterward 
divided it among his children. He resided, how- 
ever, upon that place until about 1870, v.'hen he 
went to California on a visit to a son, George, 
who removed there in the early '50s, and in the 
Golden state John Sovereign passed away on the 
20th of August, 1870, when seventy-three years 
of age. His early political support was given to 
the whig party and when the question of slavery 
was the dominant issue before the people he es- 
poused the cause of abolition. He never sought 
or desired office for himself, however. He and 
both of his wives were devoted members of the 
Alethodist Episcopal church and he was a local 
minister of '\\'innebago county, known far and 
wide as an earnest and faithful Christian man. 
His second wife reached an advanced age. He 
was one of the leading pioneers of Guilford 
township, active in business, charitable and 
benevolent in his relations to those who needed 
aid and loyal in his friendships. 

Israel Sovereign was reared in Canada and 
Guilford township, \Mnnebago county, and in 
1857, when thirty years of age, he took up his 
abode in Rockford, where he became connected 
with the hardware business, following that pur- 
suit until 1883. He was one of the leading mer- 
chants in that line of trade on the west side and 
he yet owns a business block at No. 116 South 
Main street. He was one of the promoters of the 
Rockford Watch company, became a director 
and also represented the company on the road as 
a traveling" salesman for five years. He met with 
almost phenomenal success in that work in the 
northwestern states and parts of Canada. 

Israel Sovereign was married in Winnebago 
county to Miss Laura Judd, who came from 
Ohio to Illinois in her early girlhood with her 
parents, Jason and Rebecca (Shaw) Judd, who 



settled upon a farm in Durand township and 
there passed their remaining days, dying about 
thirty years ago. They were natives of N'ermont 
and Massachusetts respectively and were repre- 
sentative people of their conmnmity, enjoying in 
high degree the regard of all with whom they 
came in contact. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sovereign 
have been born three children — C. Eugene, a 
prominent business man of Rockford, who mar- 
ried Miss Elsie Irvine: l-"red J., who is ])roprie- 
tor of the City Ice Comiiany, and married Luella 
Rhodes : and Alice. The family are members of 
the Methodist church and Mr. Sovereign is a re- 
publican in politics. He never sought or de.sircd 
office, however, preferring to devote his attention 
to his business interests, and for many years he 
was prominent in commercial circles in Rockford, 
making for himself a reputation which any man 
might be proud to possess. 

He not only worked his way steadily upward, 
but was prompt in meeting obligations and never 
made engagements that he did not fulfill. He 
placed his reliance in such old and time-tried 
maxims as "honesty is the best policy," and 
"there is no excellence without labor," and 
these proved the basis of his prosperity. 


Homer W. Knowlton, cashier of the Pecaton- 
ica Bank since 1873, was born in Freeport, Illi- 
nois, April 9, 1839. His parents were Dexter A. 
and Eveline (.\rnnld) Knowlton. lx)th of whom 
were natives of Herkimer county. New York. 
His paternal grandfather, Djivid Knowlton, was 
born May 7, 1783. and in 1804 was united in 
marriage to Achsah Barnes. He removed from 
Herkimer county. Xew York, to Stockton town- 
ship, Chautauqua county, about 1813. [le fol- 
lowed farming and the trade of boot and .shoe- 
making, which he had leamcd in early life. He 
was also active and influential in matters relating 
to the public welfare, and was one of the deacons 
of the Baptist church at old Town Line. This 
church was organized in 1814 and known as the 
First Baptist church of .Stockton. 

Unto David and .\chsah (Barnes) Knowlton 
were born seven children : Sophronia, born 
March 5, 180*1, married Isaac Andrus May 29, 
1823. removed to Rockford in 1849 au'i died 
here June 10, 1888. .\chsah. born March 23, 
1809. died in childhood. David, born February 
15, 1810, also died in childhood. Dexter A., 
born March 3, 1812, was married January 15, 
1834, to Eveline .\rnold, who died .\ugust 19, 
1874, while his death occurred Marcli 10, 1876. 
Betsey A., born March 3. 1820, became the wife 
of Lewis Morgan and died Xovember 16. 1882. 
Dyer, born May 11, 1822. died in diildhood. Wil- 

liam Alfred, born August 4, 1831, was married 
January 21, 1857, to Matilda Hitchcock, made his 
home in Rockford and died in 1892. 

Dexter A. Knowlton, father of Homer W. 
Knowlton, was born .March 3, 1812, in Herkimer 
county. New York, and the following year ac- 
companied his parents on their removal to Chau- 
tauqua county, where he resided until 1839. He 
then went to Freeport, Illinois, where he em- 
barked in business as a general merchant. He 
was one of ihe principal promoters and builders 
of the first railroad out of Chicago, the old Ga- 
lena & Chicago Union Railroad, now owned and 
operated as a part of the Qiicago & Northwestern 
Railway system. Of this line he was one of the 
directors. In 1855 he returned to Westfield, 
Chautauqua county. Xew York, and after a resi- 
dence of six years there he went to Saratoga, 
Xew York, where he purchased the Empire 
Spring and organized the Congress and Empire 
Spring Company. While in Freeport in 1869 he 
established the bank of D. A. Knowlton & Sons 
and continued in the banking business up to the 
time of his death. In religious faith he was a 
Presbyterian and in politics he was one of the 
early advocates of the abolition party, becoming 
the first candidate of that party in this state for 
governor. He was married in early manhood to 
Miss Eveline .\rnold. who was born in Herki- 
mer county. Xew York, and when about seven- 
teen or eighteen years of age went with her 
parents to Chautauqua county, the 
being celebrated there at what was called the 
Town Line, between Jamestown and Fredonia, 
New York. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dexter A. Knowlton were 
born eight c